What is Robotics?



Robotics refers to the design and application of robots, which are automated machines that accomplish a range of tasks. The first robots were integrated into factory assembly lines in order to streamline and increase the productivity of manufacturing, most notably for cars. Today, the integration of robots into mining, the military, and transportation has helped improved operations for industries by taking over tasks that are unsafe or tedious for humans. It is expected that the global robot population will double to four million by 2020, a shift that is expected to shape business models and economies all over the world. There is a substantial debate on how workers will continue to be affected by the global economy’s growing dependence on robots, especially now that robots are more autonomous, safer, and cheaper than ever. While robotics is at least four years away from being in mainstream use in education, its potential uses are starting to gain traction. Robotics programs are focusing on outreach efforts that promote robotics and programming as multi-disciplinary STEM learning that can make students better problem solvers for the 21st century. It is also clear that some students with spectrum disorders are more comfortable working with robots to develop better social, verbal, and non-verbal skills.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • I think the biggest impact is on coding, as others have pointed out. Robotics are also relevant for students in certain fields of VET, e.g. automation and computer electronics.- oysteinjohannessen oysteinjohannessen Nov 14, 2016
  • In my work I often encounter students who have limited ability to speak and move. I Believe that technology can increase their chances of inclusion in education.The technology also provides the opportunity to try and test things that would otherwise be impossible.Independence increases when the assistants will no longer be necessary to work through all the steps.(- johnny.andersson johnny.andersson Oct 19, 2016) Robots used as avatars in the classroom for students with absence over time. Such robots have eyes, ears and mouth covering the internal camera, microphone and loudspeaker acting as the students oresent deputy in the classroom. This means the i.e. students with cerebral palsy or other disorders demanding long periods of specialized training can be "present" in the classroom and not loose to much learning or social contact with his or her peers, by both seeing and hearing them through the avatar and a tablet and expressing his or her mind. - lars.persen lars.persen Nov 19, 2016
  • I find the development of social robots increadibly positive and exciting. Robots used to diagnose aspects of autism demands language, but social robots can be programmed to interfer non-verbally with the child to use facial expressions and movement to speed up a diagnosis process. More important is the verbal interaction between robot and students with spectrum disorder. Autists often struggle socially and withdraw from situations the find threatening. This can be regular, everyday situations involving language that they handle badly, as their emotions swing. The robot is clearly not human, but has a humanoid look and programmed socialized language and feel less threatening to the autist child than a peer or adult. Studies suggest also that social robots can be reinforcers of social behavior and used as proxy / catalyzist in the contact between the autist child and the teacher (adult), as the child direct social reactions through language both to the robot and the adult in settings with a social robots present ( https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23111617 ) - lars.persen lars.persen Nov 19, 2016
  • As a programming teacher, I use robots a lot. I find it especially rewarding with pre-school children and children with difficulties to communicate. - karinnygards karinnygards Nov 13, 2016
  • "The robots are taking over" is not just a hyped statement. It is important that our students gets better at understanding what for and how robots can be used to make sure that our children are not just replaced by robots in the workforce but are able to be the ones controlling and developing what robots can be used for. Introducing robots in the classroom can give a possibility for exploring this. - jakob.harder jakob.harder~ - lars.lingman lars.lingman Nov 17, 2016
  • Robotics are relevant as ways of interacting with intelligent agents, be that autistic children that might find it easier to communicate with robots or as collaborators with students in solving tasks. It can give access for students who cannot be physically present in classrooms to teaching and interaction with other students. Coding is also an aspect of this.~~~~

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • Robots used as deputies (avatars) in long time absence for students with disabilities, keeping up with school and their peers through the avatar - lars.persen lars.persen Nov 19, 2016
  • In a more complex digital world it is important to teach children to be aware of some malicious use of robots online (internet bots) for the purpose of i.e. spamming, virus planting, hacking and generating duplication of web content (theft) or fake news (fraud). This is important both to make them able to learn vigilance and why we use protection software (malware, spyware) on computers and CAPTCHA techniques to avoid robot interference. - lars.persen lars.persen Nov 19, 2016
  • A recent mini study (Robotter i folkeskolen) from Danish School of Education shows that a more developed technology literacy among school leaders and teachers is essential to ensure that social robots are being used in a meaningful way, with clear didactical goals. More research and learning studies are necessary in order to develop a constructive and more diverse use of robots and robot technology in school. - stefan stefan Nov 20, 2016

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative inquiry?


  • The ability to directly see the results,interaction with other students,being able to influence and explore Learning regardless of physical ability.(- johnny.andersson johnny.andersson Oct 19, 2016)
  • Robots will be more and more common in our society, and the will probably simulate human both looks and capabilities. It is most important that all citizens have a basic understanding on how algorithms and computer program works, to be able to relate to the increasing “robotization” of society. The process of learning programing can be done much more interesting and engaging with the combination og robots/programming. Robotics is another reason for why coding should be mandatory. - trond.ingebretsen trond.ingebretsen Nov 4, 2016
  • Programming physical robots, such as Beebot, is becoming quite common in Swedish preschools. Even the youngest children can give commands by pressing the buttons on the robot´s back. The children are often expanding the digital interface to the preschool room, painting tracks or roads at the floor or on papers for the robot to follow. With the older pre-schoolers programs such as Scratch Jr, Lightbot Jr, Makeymakey or similar is used. Here as well the digital interface is extended and they often “program” eachother with arrows in the preschool rom or at the schoolyard. Programming physical robots, such as Beebot, is becoming quite common in Swedish preschools. Even the youngest children can give commands by pressing the buttons on the robot´s back. The children are often expanding the digital interface to the preschool room, painting tracks or roads at the floor or on papers for the robot to follow. With the older pre-schoolers programs such as Scratch Jr, Lightbot Jr, Makeymakey or similar is used. Here as well the digital interface is extended and they often “program” each other with arrows in the preschool rom or at the schoolyard. The aim is often to teach already the youngest in the society that there is no “magic” in digital media, instead everything is programmed by humans and the robots, machines or computers do not have their own will.
    - susanne.kjallander susanne.kjallanderRobotics is widely discussed in Denmark too. From preschool and up children is beginning to learn how to work with robots. The trend is evident but it may be more than five years before it is one of the most important technologies in teaching. - jakob.harder jakob.harder Nov 16, 2016
  • As intelligent agents robotics can support students learning in different ways. The can challenge students in the progress as learners, individually adaptes, as creating zones of proximal development.~~~~

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?




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