Thursday, 26 November 2015

Teaching Robotics

Yesterday, I tweeted a link to an Argentine initiative, part of the Huayra initiative, encouraging students to build a simple robot out of (mostly) recycled parts and an Arduino board.

On the same theme, few days previously I tweeted a link to a news story of how some Mexican high school students had won a robotics competition in Romania.

There's a story here. Recently the news has been full of stories about robots are going to take our jobs. Possibly true, possibly not. Past experience of the IT revolution suggests that the changes will be different to those predicted but equally disruptive.

But let's assume for a moment that robotic devices become a lot more common. That means that, initially at least, we'll need a lot more technicians to set them up and configure them, do a little bit of tweaking, carry out field upgrades and the like.

Not advanced cybernetics, but good solid run of the mill technician work. The robotics equivalent of the early 20th century workshop 'fitter'.

When I look at our education programs here in Australia, I don't see a whole lot of evidence that we're headed in the same direction - rather more we're still stuck on teaching kids to use Microsoft apps and webmail.

Useful, but not necessarily the best thing to equip them for the future.

Maybe I'd better start working on my Spanish ...

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