Robots in the Australian classroom

Roland Gesthuizen, from Mater Christi College and Monash University, collaborated with seventeen other Australian teachers to produce “Robots in the Australian Classroom”. This document is published under a Creative Commons license and provides a guide to over 17 different types of robots, including a list of their features and recommended age suitability.

One of the questions teachers often ask is “Which robots should I get for our students?” and as pointed out in this document, any robot can be used to teach various aspects of the Digital Technologies curriculum, including programming, computational thinking and the vocabulary of distance, direction and angles. My preference would be for a robot that is sturdy, flexible and can be programmed in a variety of ways. Your choice depends on the learning needs of your students, your budget and what teachers feel confident with.

The Robotics pages of the Digital Technologies Hub has an extensive range of resources for learning and teaching with robots, including lesson ideas for both primary and secondary students, games, case studies and competitions. RoboCup Junior Australia is a great link for information about three challenges you can pose to students – the Dance, Rescue and Soccer challenges are three different categories of the RoboCup competition. But you don’t need to register for the competition to view the resources and use the ideas to engage your students in working with robots.

Lisa Nash has compiled an extensive range of education resources using robots and coding at her blog “Learning and Teaching with Bots and Code”. There are pages for Sphero, Ozobots, LittleBits, Arduinos and MakeyMakey with videos and slideshows that may assist in introducing these tools to your classroom.

Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano, writing at Langwitches blog, describes how computational thinking can be introduced even in the preschool years with treasure hunts and simple coding games. I hope you find these resources useful in teaching and learning with robots. Please leave a comment if you have any suggestions for other useful resources for robotics.

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