Secondary Education Robot Teachers from SoftBank. Danger, Will Robinson, Danger?
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Question. Why do human capital (school children) need to be trained in STEM when humanoid robots can learn STEM, and in fact, teach it? Robots are currently teaching special needs children in the classroom and robots in the video (below) are in a secondary education classroom. Each student in the video has his/her own robot; think of the robot as an iPad for every student or individual teacher. Think how much ‘a robot for every child’ would cost a school district.
If indeed human teachers will become guides on the side, their salaries will reflect their diminished role, possibly allowing districts to provide every student their very own robot. Districts will be able to slash curriculum directors as common core curriculum will be downloaded directly into the robots:
Districts will tell taxpayers robots are necessary to teach students STEM, although there is a possibility that these STEM trained students won’t be needed in the global economy as the robots will replace humans in many of these same STEM jobs.
From NAO robot for Secondary Education and SoftBank Robotics Europe:
More on the robot and the Educator Pack offered by RobotLab:
Today, NAO is the leading humanoid robot being used in research and education worldwide.Robotics is the fastest growing and most advanced technology used in education and research. The NAO humanoid robot is the ideal platform for teaching Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) concepts at all levels.By using the NAO platform, instructors and researchers stay current with major technical and commercial breakthroughs in programming and applied research. Using NAO guarantee students the best possible career and college readiness!
It is equipped with many sensors: Tactile Sensors, Ultrasonic sensors, A Gyro, An Accelerometer, Force Sensors, Infrared sensors, 2 HD Cameras, 4 Microphones and high accuracy digital encoders on each joint.
It has two processors on board: an Intel Atom 1.6Ghz (The main computer includes SSD drive, WiFi, Bluetooth and wired network) and an additional ARM-9 processor in its chest.
The advanced software package includes a full SDK and API in Java, C++, C# (.Net), Matlab, and Python. Every robot comes standard with Choregraphe, an award winning software that makes it easy to program the robot using a drag and drop interface which simplifies the programming for new and advanced users alike. The software package includes an advanced simulation software based on Webots.
Read the comments on the video link. Some readers think human jobs will disappear, others are more optimistic. A robot teacher is being utilized in a Kansas classroom and is described as a teacher. Robots could additionally be needed for equity purposes in education. It’s the same talking point on why technology is needed in today’s classrooms. From Nao The Robot Teacher Becomes Newest Edition To Kansas School’s Teaching Staff:
The Career and Technical Education Academy in Hutchinson, Kan., has hired a new teacher who may fit in perfectly at an institution with such a technological name. The Hutchinson News reports Nao, a robot teacher, has arrived mid-year at the high school but is already making a big impact.
The Hutchinson News visited Nao’s classroom, where a reporter spoke with students, Nao and Steve Stacey, the robot’s human coworker/caretaker. Students in the computer programming class were mainly sending typed messages to the robot, which would repeat them back seconds later. But Stacey told the paper that students can program the robot to do whatever they’d like, an asset he says will look great on résumés and will serve an an early introduction to advanced engineering before the kids head to college.
Nao was developed by the French startup company Aldebaran Robotics, which describes the robot as an autonomous and programmable humanoid. Aldebaran says Nao offers students interactive lessons; for example, rather than calculating the velocity of a hypothetical curve ball themselves, students can use Nao’s help to apply the mathematical formula in a computer program.
The company hopes high schools like the one in Hutchinson will incorporate its robots into their science, technology, engineering and mathematics curricula to jump-start interest in these fields, especially among female and minority students.
Nao comes with a price tag of around $21,000, but the Career and Technical Education Academy was able to purchase the robot with a grant from the Cargill Corporation, according to the Associated Press. And it seems to be worth the investment: School staff told The Hutchinson News that enrollment in its advanced computer programming class is already up over last year’s numbers.
No information on why this robot is more expensive than the basic robot. WARNING, WARNING, IT WILL NOT COMPUTE! DANGER, WILL ROBINSON! Will more expensive robots be evaluated as more effective than its lower priced counterparts? Will the more expensive robots be transferred to lower performing districts because of equity concerns? Is that out of the realm of possibility in the new educational reform world we find ourselves in?