- A veteran teacher promotes robotics as a way to break students out of a “worksheet mentality” and teach them the benefits of trial and error problem-solving as well as communication and collaboration skills.
- Beth Brubaker, STEM project coordinator and school-wide enrichment specialist at North Idaho STEM Charter Academy, writes for eSchool News that other teachers can do the same thing, but first need to instruct students that there isn’t a single correct answer in robotics exercises, and be clear about how students will be assessed – on communication, collaboration and teamwork, for example – rather than ability to make the robot move as directed.
- Starting with small projects, such as building marshmallow and uncooked spaghetti noodle towers, teachers can introduce students to this type of problem-solving, and Brubaker recommends debriefing after each activity so students can reflect on what they learned and what they might do differently in the future.
Robotics and maker education get students involved with hands-on activities that let their natural curiosity take center stage. Both provide an exposure to STEM fields that can set students on a path toward future jobs, and they can help students build out “soft skills” that will be equally important to their future success.
Problem-based learning (PBL) has become increasingly popular for the same reason. One way PBL can be particularly impactful is if students are given a level of control over their own education. Teachers that empower students to make decisions about the project they will end up working on witness greater engagement and ownership from their students. Education experts see all of these strategies having a clear role in School 2.0.