Learning can be as fun as driving radio-controlled cars, flying sensor-based helicopters, or even playing and interacting with mini transformers. Today, it takes much more than just the humdrum classroom chalk talks to engage students. Blurring the lines between fun and study, robots are creating a new paradigm for creativity and learning in the K-12 landscape. As much as students, both kids and teenagers, want to explore new things and play around with the robots, they also want to perceive the technology behind the robots as fundamentally human. Hence, the hunt for the perfect robotic educator is an incredibly challenging one for teachers. One such interesting account is that of Mauro Colucci, a Mechatronics teacher, and Maila Biaggi, an English language teacher at Vocational School’G. These teachers were introduced to the NAO humanoid robot when they were on the lookout for a human-like emotional robot that was completely programmable and could have a positive impact on their students. They programmed the NAO robot while collaborating with theirW students to help them prepare for performances in their drama school. NAO interacted with the budding actors in a manner one would expect from a friend or teacher, laughing, expressing anger, and much more. With NAO, the teachers could unleash the untapped capabilities of their students who were enthralled by the crying and laughing robot. The driving force behind this innovation that helped both the educators and students alike is RobotLAB. The company, on an ongoing basis, is fostering a culture of teaching with robotics. San Francisco-based RobotLAB is empowering the education ecosystem with their leading-edge online learning platform and humanoid robots, infusing the fun in learning and the play in knowledge. “We are reimagining the means of imparting education by providing an interactive, hands-on learning experience for STEM and other core subjects using robots,” says Elad Inbar, CEO of RobotLAB.
RobotLAB is transforming the modern-day classroom by providing educators with robots, both virtual and humanoid, along with curriculum, lesson plans, and activities. The company’s ingenious Engage-K12 online platform offers an immersive learning experience with comprehensive, interactive, and standards-aligned content for STEM and coding lessons along with a plethora of lesson plans tailored for different age groups, subjects, and robots. Besides making it easier to teach programming, RobotLAB is working with 30 different teachers, specialized in different subjects, to create grade-specific courses as a part of their curriculum where students can learn concepts and apply them to virtual and physical robots. For example, for a storytelling curriculum, English teachers can offer their expertise to help RobotLAB create a whole course around storytelling and build different concepts like characterizations, morale, tone, and mood through robotics and its programming. This allows the students to learn coding and programming along with the language and storytelling skills.
The subscription plans for RobotLAB are flexible whereby teachers can opt for either individual teacher subscription or school subscription that allow access to one specific classroom at a time or unlimited teachers, respectively. The subscriptions provide teachers with multiple lesson plans beefed up with various classroom management tools.
We are reimagining the means of imparting education by providing an interactive, hands-on learning experience for STEM and other core subjects using robots
For instance, there are shortcuts available for teachers that help them with operating the platform and provide them with programs that they can run for the students without having to create those by themselves. For the students, the platform renders numerous interactive tools, one of them being word cloud. Based on the responses to questions asked by a teacher, the system forms a word cloud wherein the word that gets the maximum number of votes will appear the biggest, the one with the second-highest number of votes being slightly smaller, and so on. Further, RobotLAB offers a number of lessons on the web page that are equipped with simulation tools, which allow students to perform their activities without using real robots, making the deployment versatile and more cost-efficient, and lowering the student/ robot ratio required. The resources that the students are getting access to on the platform are perfectly aligned with Common Core, Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) and other state standards. “The subjects and the methodologies that we are teaching through our platform are all in line with the teaching practices because they were created by teachers for teachers,” remarks Inbar.
With RobotLAB, teachers can create their own classes wherein they can invite students to their respective classes by introducing them to a unique link. Once the class is created, a teacher can track the performance of his/her group of students on a dashboard. In terms of training and support, RobotLAB provides an hour of one-on-one online training to every customer. A STEM specialist is also available to help customers with the training process and all other prerequisites to get started. Inbar mentions a critical point at this juncture. He asserts, “If a teacher doesn’t know anything about robotics, everything that they require to get started is built into our platform. We are not trying to replace teachers with robots; rather we are focused on helping educators teach their subjects better by integrating robotics, computer science, and programming into them.”
Operating primarily in North and Latin America, RobotLAB also has customers from Asia and Europe. “Our clientele consists of thousands of schools, universities, and colleges and I particularly take pride in the fact that RobotLAB is extending its helping hand to mainly public schools and not just well-funded private schools,” states Inbar. The company has garnered significant recognition in the K-12 industry and has won various accolades such as the Edison Award and the Edu Award. RobotLAB endeavors to introduce new robots in the marketplace and also looks forward to exploring the virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality (MR) space, implementing next-gen tools such as Microsoft HoloLens.