27 Dec 2011
The idea of robots replacing teachers has been an idea that has come up on occasion; with the advent of online schooling, this does seem possible. But, an online class still has to be staffed with a human, and that is fairly expensive for the school to run. The robot may be pretty cost-effective ($10,000, according to Walter Fritz) and the average teacher’s yearly salary is $38,000, as seen on payscale.com, so the school board might be thrilled with that idea. So, it may soon happen that the school boards will pay for robotics programs so that students can begin building their own robots to replace their teachers!
Even if the average teacher is not enamored of the idea of being replaced by technology, robotics is still a fascinating topic to pursue, certain to engage even the most attention-deprived child. Many companies produce robotics packages for classroom use, and even if your school does not want to spring for the materials, maybe an industrious teacher could find out what companies sponsor grants (These grants seem to be particular to a state, so google “robotics grants for schools” with no quotation marks and see if your state comes up). There is a lot of information to be obtained from NASA regarding curriculum and robotics. There is also a surprising amount of robotics competitions that are geared toward school age children, particularly ages 9 and up. Some of these include: BotBall, First Lego League, FIRST Robotics Competitionand Robofest. There is also available a free downloadable robot program available from Microsoft, but it does not seem to be user-friendly for the first-time robot-builder. There is, however, for the novice, a website which shows how to perform an autopsy on a Furby to see how this robot toy works.
Robotics is a concept that has been around for a while, but mainly as a futuristic fantasy. Now, the idea is becoming reality and should be further explored for classroom instruction. The implications for furthering student intellect in the fields of science, math, and technology are limitless!