This section helps you formulate a policy about the effective use of educational robotics in your school. The other sections outline actual purchasing recommendations.
Educational robots are not about ICT or Control or something you drag out of the cupboard when the inspectors arrive. They are tools you use everyday to add value across the whole curriculum. Bill Gates predicts robots are the next hot technology. Without effective user strategies they’ll emerge from their cocoon and become gimmicks. The ERA Principles solves this problem. They grew out of the work of Seymour Papert who combined constructivist theory with the embryonic ideas of Artificial Intelligence. ERA extends this work to embrace the exhilarating advances in neuroscience, cognitive science, robotics and what is now called the science of learning. At first Roamer may seem familiar, but as it gradually emerges from our research and rolls out, you will see that it is a radically innovative teaching aid.
It is not enough to know facts and do well in SATs. Students must grasp the concepts behind what we teach and gain experiences that sustain their future learning. Roamer helps them gain deep insights and facilitates their ability to transfer knowledge and solve problems.
You get the best from Roamer if you integrate it into your current teaching practice. Roamer enriches the student’s learning experience. Traditional teaching formalises Roamer experiences and connects it to the curriculum. For example: most adults cannot answer the question what is 4 minus, minus 3. In what is a classic example of rote learning, most of those who get the answer right remember the rule two minuses are a plus, but very, very few of them know what this rule means.
Using Roamer we focus on the concept of subtraction as difference. The difference between 4 and negative 3 is the distance between them on the number line. It is the distance Roamer travels going from one to the other. Roamer provides a visual, spatial and kinaesthetic model that is more meaningful and enduring than a rote rule. Combine this with conventional activities and the effects are startling.
To effectively use educational robots throughout the school, teachers need to understand its educational value, its technicalities, how to use it and how to integrate it into their lessons. This requires training. Training is free and the majority of it is what industry calls “just in time” and “on the job”. We are developing three strands: ► Open Source and Free Activities ► User Group Support ► Online Training Courses