Robotics: A Crucial Next-Gen Skill And A Golden Opportunity For Effective Online Learning

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I recently came across a report that inspired me. According to some estimates, by 2025, the time spent on existing fields of work will be split 50-50 between humans and machines. It’s awe-inspiring to think that we, as a species, have created technology so advanced, that it can literally take over the physically taxing parts of modern labour and living. This revolution should not catch any of us by surprise. Just look around you — the influence of machines and robots is palpable in all aspects of our lives. 

Robotics: Present and future

Kids’ toys and educational aids, vacuuming appliances in houses, assembly lines in factories that put together the devices we use daily, medical instruments that save millions of lives each year, experiments with deliveries through drones, and, my personal favourite — machines being used for space exploration — all of these have robotics at its core. Believe me when I say this, the prospect of learning about, working with, and building something new within the world of robots still remains the highlight of most of my days.  

This sentiment is not unique to me and is shared by many around the world. The global robotics industry was valued at almost $28 billion in 2020 and is expected to cross $73 billion by 2026, with Asia-Pacific being the largest market for it. 

What is robotics?

I’ll try to keep the answer simple — robotics is a combination of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics with the aim to create intelligent machines. 

As a discipline, robotics includes the study of artificial intelligence, machine learning, circuits and signal systems, functional robotics, the Internet of Things, kinematics and humanoids, bio-inspired robotics… and a whole lot more. 

It is becoming increasingly evident that knowledge of robotics will be an important, maybe even a basic skill, for the coming generations. It follows, then, that diving into the world of robotics seems like a necessary step for the children of today. 

Globally, and in India, we’ve seen that millennial parents are recognising the long-term benefits of enrolling their children in online robotics and coding courses. 

Robotics: A gimmick? Or does it have real value?

So let’s address the big, lumbering elephant in the online education room — are robotics and tech learning more about feel-good buzzwords and marketing gimmicks than real value? As the head of RoboCHAMPS, BrightCHAMPS’ arm for robotics, the easiest thing to do would be for me to say NO. But that’s not who we are, so I’m going to say it — yes, it can be a marketing gimmick. This is why it’s important for parents to really, truly, deeply understand what their kid stands to gain from it. 

There’s no question in my mind that every child stands to gain a host of tangible and intangible skills like motor skills, problem-solving, cognitive abilities, design thinking, technology and research aptitude, technology correlation and leadership, and many more by immersing themselves in robotics and other industry-inspired tech training. 

But throwing impressive-sounding words is not why I’m writing this very important piece.  

Things get murky and gimmicky when parents are lured into emotional traps with far-fetched dreams instead of realistic goals and clear pathways to achieve them. 

So, let me clarify that there is no robotics course — online or offline — that can suddenly turn every child into a genius-scientist-inventor. 

What a good course — designed, created, vetted, and regularly updated by qualified experts — can offer is leading a child down a path that unveils a child’s innate sense of curiosity and inquisitiveness and, later, enhancing it through the discipline of critical thinking to arrive at the best routes to solve a real-world problem using technology. 

Along this path, a robust course with a long-term vision of desired learning outcomes will also offer your child regular opportunities for international exposure and multi-cultural student collaborations because the world is a global village now. But in the end, ALL of the concepts, skills, and enablers I mentioned above are in service of the one very simple goal of teaching kids how to think and have confidence in their thoughts, not what to think. So, please choose your child’s learning partners well.

What I would like for parents to understand, more than anything in the world, is that robotics is a tool. A very powerful tool, but a tool, nonetheless. And like any tool, it requires patience, dedication, and perseverance to master. 

Robotics course: How does it benefit children

I could go on and on about the proven benefits of a good one-on-one robotics course for kids. I’m not even speaking about just neurotypical kids here. There’s so much research on the many ways in which online robotics training focussed on learning by playing and doing instead of instructional teaching can help neuro-divergent kids. 

The most profoundly life-changing one is, in my humble opinion, that it allows kids who deal with social and learning challenges to feel safer in their learning environments. And also pick up essential life skills a lot faster and without the stress, they would otherwise have had to experience. 

I have always believed that the true purpose of technology is not just to make life easier for humans, but to help make the world a kinder, more inclusive place for those who will inherit it after us.

So I’ll leave you with this one final question: what is it that you want for your child? Fast assembly of robots based on instructions or slow-but-deep understanding of the principles behind every creation? Your answer will tell you which robotics course is the one that’s most likely to satisfy you.

The author is the head of RoboCHAMPS, the Robotics Veritcal of e-learning platform BrightCHAMPS.

Disclaimer: The opinions, beliefs, and views expressed by the various authors and forum participants on this website are personal.

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