As part of their informational research and review writing for the Common Core ELA reading, writing, and speaking/listening literacy strands, the student journalists of Mr. Grzelecki’s 660 Writing class reviewed and reflected on 3 videos featured in Classroom Robotics blog. With the support of Dr. Reissman, the Director of the school’s Writing Institute, they first analyzed the prompts supplied for each video before viewing it. They discussed the pros and cons of each very real and engaging issue presented. These involve authentic robotics products, advertisements, and applications in Space Research. Dr. Reissman pointed out to them, as well, that in the related genre of Science Fiction writer’s often include descriptions of technology items (inventions and products) which, while they may be very expensive at the time of the writing, will become affordably within comfortable reach of the general public in a future perhaps that may be only ten to thirty years of the story’s publication. Mr. Grzelecki reminded the students to take notes during the viewing of the videos. After each short video, Dr. Reissman and Mr. Grzelecki had the students revisit in discussion their initial takes on the issues. Finally the student news journalists offered their reactions in writing.
These students participated as members of a community of learners focused on the blog’s contents, viewing electronic and visual text and commenting as real world citizens on ethical, economic, and lifesaving issues raised by robotics technology. That’s kick starting genuine Common Core skills that count in our real challenging world. Below, is a selection of their commentary.
• On whether commercially available killer robots were a good or bad idea (http://classroomrobotics.blogspot.com/2013/04/kuratas-one-bad-s-robot-or-grown-up.html):
Abdullah H ----
“The killer robot could be exceedingly destructive. It is very cool looking. Still using it could be very bad for our country.”
“I am not in favor of the killer robot. The robot could kill anyone it is programmed to kill. In addition, the robot could turn against all humankind and kill humans.”
“I am in favor of robots going to war. It will save many lives. This will allow our population to grow.”
“My reaction to this product is interesting. This product is better than people for combating war. In a war, you could send a robot, instead of a person. A person can get injured and pass a way. But if a robot is disabled, so what? I think this is a good product.”
• On whether current use of robots in space instead of humans is a viable and desirable choice (http://classroomrobotics.blogspot.com/2013/04/robonaut-2-robot-astronaut.html) :
“Robot Astronauts are a great idea. Robots can reach planets, humans can’t reach such as Mars. If something goes wrong, there is no loss of human life.”
“I am in favor of replacing humans with robots for space exploration. Robots can explore space faster. They can do a better job than humans. It could be dangerous for humans to go into space, but for the robots the dangers do not matter. I personally don’t think it is amazing when humans travel into space, but when robots do it is cool.”
“I think that the idea of robots going into space is awesome. The use of robots to explore space could help us find out about distant worlds. It costs less money to send robots into space. Using robots can prevent human astronauts from getting hurt or killed. Traveling to space is a dangerous job, let the robots do it.”
“My reaction to having robots do the difficult task of space exploration is a positive one. I am impressed and glad about this idea because it will make things easier. For a human creating cars for space is a difficult. The cars a human creates might not be efficient. But for a robot, making these cars might be easier and more efficient. This potential use of robots does not only apply to their crafting a car, but can apply to other manufacturing tasks as well. For robots, jobs like fighting wars and making weapons or even behavior correction are appropriate work.”
“Yes, I think that robots should manage the difficult tasks that humans can’t do properly. Robots can absolutely replace astronauts, teachers and factory workers. In using them salaries and benefits are saved.”
“I think it is a good idea for robots to replace humans in outer space. It’s cheaper because you don’t have to train them as astronauts.”
• On evaluating the kicking female Hot- Bot robot in the Super bowl 2013 commercial and its message of “Respect the Tech” (http://classroomrobotics.blogspot.com/2013/04/student-focus-questions-what-does-this.html):
“I think that the message of respecting the uses and powers of technology was shown in that commercial. But in the real world, I am not in favor of such robots. They might do something crazy.”
“I think that minus the female kicking robot, the commercial would be much less effective. Using the female super robot makes men feel inferior, like the man in the commercial.”
“If robots were to take over jobs people do, such as car building and car sales, it would be dangerous. If robots get too violent as the female does in this commercial, how can a human stop them? If like in this commercial, they become very humanoid, they might begin to pretend and feel that they were actually humans.”
“A robot like this should not be available for purchase because it could really hurt people. It is too violent."
“This Kia ad does indeed teach its audience to respect the powers of the Hot Bot robot. Once the man kicks the car as he looks it over, she kicks him into the wall. Got to “respect the tech.”
Materials forwarded by Dr. Rose Reissman