Robotics Business Review: Back to School: STEM’s Impact on Developing Future Roboticists

This article discusses the state of STEM and robotics in today’s schools. Educators continue to stress bringing robots and robot education into classrooms, but unfortunately for many students, robotics programs and curricula vary across school districts, often heavily dependent on gender, socio-economic conditions, and even racial demographics.

Robotics Business review sits down and interview’s Steve Coxon, Ph.D., an associate professor of the Online Education program at Maryville University in St. Louis, to get an overview of the state of STEM education in 2019. Steve is also the executive director for Access and Achievement at the university. Dr. Coxon’s expertise includes educational development in STEM, alongside the development of robotics curricula and programming for young and gifted students.

Steve mentions KIBO in this exchange:

Q: Many feel that in order to train the workforce of the future, we need to have more workers understand a lot of these STEM-based concepts. Are schools developing these programs at the right age? It seems like most of these programs are started at the middle-school, high school or even college level, and not at the elementary or pre-K stage. Is there a right time to begin with robotics concepts or STEM training?

Coxon: No age is too late, but I believe that it is best to engage students early in age-appropriate ways. Human coding — where a student is the robot and her peers give her commands — is great for pre-school. There are also great pre-school robotics platforms such as KIBO, where students arrange wooden blocks each with a command in written and pictorial form that is scanned by the robot. Students learn numbers and sequencing while simultaneously learning basic coding skills such as repeat loops, and hopefully a lifelong love of robotics.

Read the full interview.