Robotics education should be compulsory for all, from daycare onwards

Pia Engström

By guest authorPia Engström, Development manager, City of Riihimäki, Robotics Campus

The modern world means that robotics is closely intertwined in our lives. It is very important to teach children already from an early age to understand not only the basics of programming, artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics, but the ethics of AI as well. Mobile robots act as ethically as we humans program and build them to do. Social robots in everyday life reinforce and clarify the very basics of our values.

Studying robotics enables the learning of essential working-life skills and key competences for lifelong learning: teamwork, problem solving, creativity and self-management. Using a learning platform such as VEX robotics makes for an ecological learning environment. VEX parts can be used for 10 years or more and can be supplemented with new parts. This teaches students to appreciate sustainable and good-quality materials.

Teaching robotics in public schools is not too expensive as it is integrated in other lessons such as mathematics, physics, environmental studies and crafts. This also means that the total number of lessons has not increased, but the existing ones have a new focus. If robotics were to become a compulsory subject everywhere, even students who are not technology-oriented would learn the basics of robotics. Because building a robot is a very practical task, it also offers an opportunity to shine for those students who might have difficulties to follow the language.

Since about half of the world’s population and robotics users are women, also half of the designers and programmers should be women. As women continue to do the most of the world’s care work, they also play a significant role in defending and understanding the needs of children, the elderly and the disabled. It is therefore important that more and more girls and members of the minorities are studying and actively involved in digital transformation and robotics.

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