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Teacher: Seven Reasons Why Schools Should Teach Robotics, Game Design

Teacher: Seven Reasons Why Schools Should Teach Robotics, Game Design

STEM is becoming a popular trend in schools across the nation, and teachers are starting to bring coding, robotics, and other aspects into the classroom.

So says Lynn Paul, former school librarian and game design, robotics, and engineering teacher at Plaquemine High School in Louisiana in an article on eschoolnews.com. In the article, Paul offers teachers seven reasons why all teachers should teach robotics and game design.

"I think everyone should learn how to program and of course I’m no exception," she said. "My transformation from librarian-turned-tech facilitator to coding teacher started with a back room full of old busted computers. My school didn’t know what to do with them so I decided to fix them up and make them useful. Then I started thinking, 'What else can I do?' I read something about Arduino and soon I was tinkering with parts, building, and programming anything I could get my hands on. It became a hobby."

The first reason is "you can probably afford it."

"I used to think that robotics was prohibitively expensive for schools, but I recently spoke at the LACUE conference in New Orleans and was invited by some STEM teachers to attend a workshop on SeaPerch, which is an underwater robotics program, and the parts are dirt cheap," she said. "There’s no programming, but you do get to learn how to solder. Robotics can be done on the cheap if you’re willing to get creative. And game design is almost free. All you have to have are laptops for every student. That’s the only expense."

Another reason is to "teach students to think like a computer."

"The students using Scratch are learning solid programming skills," said Paul. "They understand the thought process. The biggest thing I have to teach them is to think like a computer in that very logic-driven way. I tell them all the time, “You’re your own best teacher.” At first they don’t like to hear that. They think it means they have to go off and learn something without a guide. Of course I’m there to help them but it’s a hard subject to teach and especially to put into natural language what you’re trying to accomplish. If you want this sprite to move so many spaces, you have to distill or translate that into Scratch or EasyC and then go from there. That’s what I mean when I tell them to think like a computer."

Read the full story and comment below. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor

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