In an ever-evolving technological world, the Coding and Robotics curriculum is vital in exposing learners to new technologies within the schooling environment and building a foundation of knowledge for the Intermediate and Senior Phase in South Africa.
What is the new Coding and Robotics curriculum all about?
The Coding and Robotics subject is central to function in a digital and information-driven world; apply digital ICT skills and transfer these skills to solve everyday problems in the development of learners. The subject studies the activities that deal with the solution of problems through logical and computational thinking. It is concerned with the various inter-related areas of Information Technology and Engineering. So essentially coding and robotics are dealing with weaving STEM into the curriculum from an early age. This is going to give students the opportunity to explore how these concepts relate to everyday life.
What is STEM?
STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, four subjects that play massive roles in our daily lives. For example, science explains the world around us; technology allows us to form connections and expand our knowledge; engineering provides solutions to problems as diverse as transport and climate change; and mathematics underpins almost every job and activity we do.
Because of this, STEM education is absolutely vital for students to succeed in our technology and information-based society. After all, learning the skills inherent in STEM subjects will help create the critical thinkers and innovators who will go on to tackle the biggest challenges facing our world today.
By making these lessons fun and engaging, teachers can spark a passion in their students. By inviting students to do more than just learn, teachers can play a crucial role in creating the innovators and pioneers of the future.
Thinking Skills and Coding – find your inner coder
Coding is essentially written instructions that a robot or computer program can read and execute. Experts call these skills the “new literacy”, a language every child needs to know to excel in our rapidly changing world.
How can Marty the Humanoid Robot help teachers and students?
EduBoard, through the introduction of Marty (a Humanoid Robot) as a valuable teaching tool, are ensuring that young people around the country are ready to grasp the new opportunities made available by the new curriculum. Computer coding involves a person translating ideas, solutions and instructions into a language that a computer can understand and execute. Marty offers great learning progression when it comes to programming and robotics. From screen-free, or unplugged coding to block-based (Scratch) for junior phase teaching and text-based (Python) programming for senior phase teaching, Marty is a great tool to can help teach the new curriculum at every skill level – something that usually requires several different robots to achieve.
With Marty – Coding Is Fun!
Robotical, the team who created Marty are endeavouring to improve on him continually. Back in 2016, Marty the Robot was just an idea. Today, thanks to the team at Robotical, it’s a leading STEM resource that can be found in over 1,000 schools around the world.
Marty is suitable for both junior and senior learners due to its classroom robustness. With the new servo motor supplier and servo model, a higher degree of shock resistance is provided. The new servos are both more securely positioned in the robot assembly, as well as having a higher quality construction themselves. Additionally, the wire thickness has been increased, and the cable routing has been improved, across the robot ensuring a longer life and reduced chance of a cable failure.
The robot has been designed so that when it is dropped from table height, it will survive without a breakage. However, in certain situations, a breakage is unavoidable. In the case that there is a breakage, the current design allows for the effected piece to most likely be a low-cost plastic piece in the leg (a leg link). We can easily replace this piece free of charge or provide a full leg replacement as necessary.
All considered, Marty is a robust robot that has been used successfully in many classrooms for years without a fault. The recent changes that have been made have even further reinforced this robustness, increasing the lifetime of Marty.
Older students are generally more agile and respectful when handling hardware, where younger students are naturally more ‘enthusiastic’ handlers – hence the new improvements have been geared towards making Marty more robust.
“After a few moments of play, I found that the robots are sturdy enough to handle position adjustments and recover from drops to the floor. One of the students actually had Marty walk right off the edge of a table using the Colour Coding cards by accident. Marty was able to recover and go right back to being programmed. We’ve had to recalibrate them a few times over the years to ensure they were back to their original position but I’ve been really impressed with how robust they are and how easy it is to recalibrate Marty. Marty has been such a great addition to all of my classrooms from Kindergarten to Grade 6. Being a technology teacher and visiting every classroom and sharing Marty with up to 400 students, I have found that Marty has been able to be transferred through many classes and has never had problems with sturdiness or structure. “
Chris Butt, Technology Teacher at Glenview School in Canada
Schools are required to ensure that the necessary tools, devices, materials and consumables be available for teaching, learning and assessment. A dedicated Coding and Robotics lab should be used.
Let Marty be part of the essential Robots and coding aides. Humanoid robots are the most exciting tool for making STEM learning engaging for all students. Marty is designed for educators and learners, is simple to use, incredibly robust and absolutely state of the art. Marty comes with extensive technical support from our dedicated team, and an ever-growing set of curriculum-linked lessons and activities, which EduBoard is designing in line with the South African curriculum using Robotical’s knowledge base will be suitable for beginners, intermediate and advanced coders.
Teaching and Learning in Coding and Robotics involves the development of a range of process and design skills. These skills are underpinned by the Engineering Design Process and the Computational Thinking Process throughout the Subject. Through the subject learners will develop the ability to think objectively and use a variety of forms of reasoning. Teachers need to create an environment that allows learners to tap into their curiosity about digital technology, supports their creativity, responsibility and grow their confidence in using technology through Coding and Robotics.