(Here's a nice little piece that describes a few of the many ways that teachers and students use robotics to foster learning. Of the resources and approaches mentioned,LEGO Robotics, by far, is the most popular... re-blogged from ISTE Connects Blog)
"Easy tools for using robotics in the classroom"
Here’s a look at how members of the ISTE community are using robotics both in and out of the classroom:
Robots for all learners
RobotBASIC: This is a free tool for schools, teachers and students. Developed with help from 33-year education veteran John Blankenship, it’s among the most powerful educational programming languages available, with nearly 900 commands and functions.
LEGO Robotics: Perhaps one of the most widely used robotics programs used in classrooms, LEGO Robotics lets students at any learning level create and command robots. Middle school teacher Kelly Schnittker led a team of students who competed in a Lego Robotics competition , where they learned as much about problem solving and collaboration as they did engineering and programming.
EZ-Robot: EZ-Robot provides a platform that scales between beginner and advanced users, who learn logic, soldering, electronics and modular design, all while modifying a toy shell into a personal robot. Business developer Dennis Kambeitz uses EZ-Robot at home with his sixth grade son. Within the first hour of use, his son had activated the built-in camera, turned on the robot’s facial and color tracking abilities, and had created two custom movement sequences that included playing back his recorded voice through the robot's speaker.
Raspberry Pi : The idea behind the tiny and affordable computer for kids came in 2006 when the developers noticed a year-on-year decline in the numbers and skills levels of students applying learning through computer science. Educator Thomas Dubick inspires STEM learning among his female middle school students using Raspberry Pi. Watch their TED Talk to see the amazing work they’ve been doing.
Specialized tools and programs
For early education: Bee-Bot is an exciting new robot designed for young children. ICT coordinator Linda Bradfield has recently begun using Bee-Bots in her K-2 classrooms and has found them to be a wonderful tool for teaching perseverance, mathematical concepts, collaborative skills and much more.
For college-bound students: Using unmanned aircraft, high school seniors in Alaska participate in activities such as simulated search-and-rescue operations, sea ice charting and data collection for a NASA aviation safety project . Program director John Monahan says benefits of the project include “giving students a bird’s-eye view of their communities and … exciting them about college and about STEM careers.”
For virtual education: Using robots to enhance virtual learning is something we once only dreamed about. But educators in Kodiak, Alaska , will soon be able to roll into their distance classrooms on two wheels! ISTE member Bob Whicker, director of the Consortium for Digital Learning at the Association of Alaska School Boards, is on the forefront of making this futuristic dream a reality throughout rural Alaska.
How are you using robotics in your school or classroom?"