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Webster’s dictionary defines “robotics as:
the branch of technology that deals with the design, construction, operation and application of robots.
When robotics is introduced into the classroom to excite students about science and technology, does it offer more learning opportunities? What are the benefits to CTE students?
These are not trick questions. Think about student learning and everything that competes with their time to truly design, construct, operate and apply their learning experiences.
CTE’s integration of robotics into the classroom reminds me of something noted astrophysicist and author Neil deGrasse Tyson said, “Great minds don’t think alike, great minds think for themselves.” The immersion of interdisciplinary skills — such as math, science and critical thinking — required in CTE provides students with just a glimpse of what they can do and who they can become. And to think, the career, invention or problem to solve hasn’t even been thought of yet. That’s CTE!
Robotics strategically attracts students to math, science and problem solving. In order for students to design, construct, operate and apply their learning they must understand physics, programming, mechanics and ratios, as well as all the advanced disciplines that may feel boring in core curriculum classes. The benefit of robotics in the classroom is that it celebrates failure (the idea of try, try and try again), and the lessons learned in perseverance build confidence in today’s and tomorrow’s learners.
It is easy to build design principles into your daily curriculum, but it takes true planning and preparation and possibly professional development on your part. Start with what you do have and build from there. Our students in CTE deserve the opportunity to engage in “hard things” that foster learning, and robotics does just that. Tyson stated, “Only by doing hard things do you ever distinguish yourself from others around you … .”
So I’ll remind us, “When robotics is introduced into the classroom to excite students about science and technology, does it offer more learning opportunities? What are the benefits to CTE students?” Robotics draws students to math, science and problem solving, encouraging them to embrace hard work, critical thinking and a passion for original thought and application. Our sustained economic development depends on it! CTE education tailored for tomorrow matters!
The post also appears on ACTE’s Educators In Action blog.
Eboni Camille Chillis is the coordinator of Career Technical & Agricultural Education for Clayton County Public Schools.
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