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Robot to Make Computing Lessons More Fun for Brit School Kids

by Tanya Thomas on  January 9, 2009 at 9:24 AM Education News   - G J E 4
Robot to Make Computing Lessons More Fun for Brit School Kids
It's not the first time that technology has substituted humans in a place of learning, and it sure won't be the last! Brit schools are now considering introducing androids -humanoid robots- to teach students how to count.
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The deal, which is about to be signed between British design company Kablamm and hundreds of secondary schools, will involve schools buying the latest MechRC robots.

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The robotic gadget, designed by academics from the University of Reading, can easily be programmed by children to move around, dance, play football or even complete an assault course.

Kablamm started selling the 400 pounds robot to gadget fans three months ago, but this year hopes to transform the grown-up toy into a fully-fledged education aid.

"I am really, really excited about this going into most secondary schools in the country. We need to get kids excited not just in robotics but also in technology and maths in general," the Telegraph quoted Jim Wyatt, the creative director, as saying.

"That's what the UK has traditionally been so strong in - coming up with ideas and making technology accessible. We need to educate another generation to do this," he said.

Though some schools are already using NXT, a robot made by the Lego toy company, in ICT lessons, the MechRC will be the first humanoid robot to be used in British schools.

Kat Nilsson, Contemporary Science Manager, at the Science Museum in London, is very much in favour of the idea.

"It's always the humanoid robots that connect with people. They really show the imagination and precision involved in engineering," Nilsson said.

"In the classroom mechanics can seem dry and abstract, but when a robot is involved it's like giving a child a cartoon character to interact with," Nilsson added.

The battery-operated robot, which can do a back flip, is programmed via a computer, and students have to programme each of the 17 joints to make sure the robot does not fall over and moves smoothly.

Source: ANI
TAN/M
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