Tackling the STEM robotics curriculum

Thursday, 08 April, 2021

Tackling the STEM robotics curriculum

Firbank Junior Grammar School in Melbourne leapt into the spirit of April Fool’s Day earlier this month, issuing a media release announcing the appointment of a robot teacher to tackle the STEM robotics curriculum.

While it transpired that Professor Tubby the android is, in fact, powered by a human who will teach the curriculum, the underlying message remains.

According to an Oxford Economics report, the Australian region is most likely to be changed by robotics in the coming five to 10 years. Firbank Head of Campus Brad Nelson said this prediction highlights the next generation’s need for understanding the fundamentals of robotics and the provision of clear STEM career pathways.

Nelson said that robotics not only teaches students the fundamentals of coding, computing, engineering and project planning, it also teaches problem-solving, critical thinking and mathematics, while allowing them to use their curiosity to literally build the future with their own hands.

“This is hands-on learning with physical applications in a digital world. This is the opposite of most online-based models that takes the real world and makes it digital, which is possibly difficult to grasp for younger children. This takes technology beyond the screen and into the future; all they need is the curiosity to think of an application and our new robotics expert will be there for inspiration,” he said.

The school says that it understands that in the future, like most industries, robots in the education sector will have significant implications for teachers’ roles and their professional identity as human teachers will move from being often-solitary sources of learning to becoming learning and teaching managers, who need to provide learning opportunities creatively utilising technology as it develops in society.

The school is a leader in science literacy, where students use robotics and 3D printing to design and build devices. Nelson says any child that is not learning STE(A)M and science literacy from a young age is potentially underprepared for the future world and the job market.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Alexander

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