Creating Educational Robots: Basics From Teacher Training to Making

Creating Educational Robots: Basics From Teacher Training to Making

Martin Fislake
Copyright: © 2022 |Pages: 29
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-7443-0.ch011
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After more than 30 years of development, the designing, constructing, and programming of educational robots is still enjoying increasing popularity in formal, non-formal, and informal educational settings. Although building instructions and required technical components are easily available and accessible, the realization of own teaching projects is a special challenge and is subject to decisive influences. This includes the content-related training of teachers as well as their attitudes and ways of thinking and acting. Therefore, the first section of this chapter spans an arc from the didactic concept of the extracurricular project technikcamps related to robotics. The experiences gained from it and the consequences for teacher training to the philosophical roots of technical education follows. In connection with this, the main part deals with the technological basics of creating educational robots in general. It leads from manufacturing single parts through the creation of a support structure and automation to the application of the engineering design process.
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Educational Robotics In The Technikcamps Project

The idea for the technikcamps project (Fislake, 2010) was conceived by the Department of Technology at the University of Koblenz in Germany and fulfils several functions at the same time. As an out of school project, it is an extracurricular place of learning. Its focus is on technology education which is complementary to the established canon of subjects in schools, especially in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Building System/Construction System: In contrast to a construction kit with its assorted content, the building system is characterized by an open approach. The components are not counted and do not serve the realization of one or more predefined construction proposals, but primarily the free design.

Design and Manufacturing Task: In technology education, the didactic characteristics of the teaching methods design task and manufacturing task are combined together and defined into one coherent teaching method. In a lesson that follows this method pupils plan and design a technical object and manufacture it. At the end, their manufactured products are assessed and compared with the previously set requirements.

Coding: Coding stands colloquially for programming. In this paper and commonly used to describe how beginner program without using control structures, models, or algorithms.

Design process: A design process is a general concept that guides the development, construction, and realization of projects in a systematic manner. It contains the procedural knowledge for problem solving and is defined as a decision-making process (often iterative) to meet desired needs. Depending on the area of application, the basic shape is adapted to the requirements.

Educational Robotics: Educational Robotics are defined by technology artefacts ranging from programable robot-like toys to professional automated systems and the way they are used in educational settings. They include robot simulations, constructional robotic kits as well as prefabricated systems. Educational Robotics play also an active role to enhance learning experience through the creation, implementation and validation of pedagogical activities, tools and technologies.

Behavior Machine: A term coined by Resnick 1993 while working with the first generations of programmable construction kits. As machine behavior (Rahwan et al., 2019) this field is concerned with the scientific study of intelligent machines, not as engineering artefacts, but as a class of actors with particular behavioral patterns and ecology. This field overlaps with, but is distinct from, computer science and robotics.

Construction Kit: Based on a building system a construction kit is characterized by a half open approach. It has an assorted content including counted components and a building instruction that serves the realization of one or more predefined construction models. The components of a construction kit may be used as a building system, also extended through compatible components.

Assembly Task: The assembly task as a teaching method originates from technology didactics and is considered a variant of the work task. In order for the problem-solving process to concentrate more on inventing and re-inventing, it preferably uses modular elements with precise fitting shapes and quick connection possibilities by plugging and screwing.

Assembly Kit: Also known as assembly set, model kit, or kit it follows a closed approach, which is characterized through an assorted content including counted components and a building instruction that serves the realization of only one model. Included components as a rule are not compatible with others.

Engineering Design Process: The engineering design process (EDP) is an iterative, not linear thinking strategy. It was developed since the end of the nineteenth century to solve technical problems systematically and uses creative as well as rationale methods. It requires numerous decisions and includes a variety of realistic constraints, such as economic factors, safety, usability, reliability, aesthetics, ethics and social impact to achieve satisfactory results. In educational applications it helps to develop a kind of engineering thinking for general use that includes the development of student’s creativity and their problem-solving ability.

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