Monday, January 19, 2015

Outstanding Lesson in How to Teach Robot Programming AND English Language Arts!

So many teachers seem to directly jump into having kids build and program robots... and then, MAYBE, take a step or two back  later on to figure out what it all means. This blog, while it certainly offers a good deal about robots and how to build and program them, is principally directed at that "What It All Means" factor. That factor involves exploring and understanding why humans create robots and how they impact human life. Are they good or bad?.. er, are they expressions, that is, of our loftier and more intelligent impulses or are they manifestations of where we humans go wrong? While conceiving and executing the design and assembly of LEGO pieces and electronic components into a robot that will autonomously perform advanced tasks, may be emblematic of good 21st Century Education; understanding this powerful trend in human evolution (robotics) and refining one's ability to communicate about it, is perhaps even more important.

The video below, of a teacher demonstrating for students the relationship of language to computer programming through his playing the role of a robot for which they (the students) play the role of programmers is not only hilariously entertaining, but incredibly insightful. Further, not only does it show us how programming  relies on good use of language, but also how we can learn to use language better in general, through programming. To me, that's good Literacy instruction as well as sublime STEM teaching!

Here's the video (below)  and below that a link to the very wonderful article titled "How learning to code might improve writing skills" in which I first saw it. Enjoy!

By the way, this lesson is very similar to one shared with me by a fantastic Student Robotics coach form Hawaii, Dwayne Abuel, that I included in the book Getting Started with LEGO Robotics (Be the Robot: Programming Concepts). In many ways, this simple approach is ideal for illustrating how programming works and the need for precision in language, whether that be English or a coding language, when communicating for a purpose.

" How learning to code might improve writing skills 1/13/2015 5:00:00 AM

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