The Schoolyard Podcast Episode 5: Surprise Benefits of Robotics in Schools & Where to Start

The Schoolyard Podcast Episode 5: Surprise Benefits of Robotics in Schools & Where to Start

Robotics in schools has become increasingly important in today’s educational landscape. Join host Nancy Chung as she interviews Naomi Hartl, STEM Subject Matter Expert for School Specialty. Nancy and Naomi discuss how integrating robotics into the curriculum provides students valuable hands-on experience and fosters critical thinking skills.

Learning From Mistakes

One of the most valuable aspects of learning robotics is the opportunity to learn through mistakes. In robotics, failure is not seen as a setback but as a stepping stone towards success. When students encounter challenges and their robots don’t work as expected, they are encouraged to analyze the problem, make adjustments, and try again.

This iterative process teaches them resilience, problem-solving, and the importance of perseverance. By allowing students to experience challenges in a safe and supportive environment, robotics education helps them develop a growth mindset. They learn that mistakes are a natural part of learning and that success often comes after multiple attempts. This mindset is not only beneficial in robotics but also in other areas of their lives.

Naomi Hartl, STEM Subject Matter Expert, interviewed by host Nancy Chung

Fostering Teamwork and Inclusion

One of the most critical skills gained through robotics is the ability to work in a team.

Everybody has a role to play. Everybody has a position that they’re in and there are some that thrive in certain areas over others. And you work together as a team.

Naomi Hartl, STEM Subject Matter Expert

This team aspect and the ability to integrate robotics into other subject areas make it a great opportunity to promote inclusion in the classroom. It helps students in special education with self-regulation, self-determination, and socialization. It also opens up options for teaching students at different levels of understanding. Inclusion is vital for students of all abilities, and robotics is a tool that can help us encourage inclusive classrooms.

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Robotics isn’t just for the elite students. Robotics can support anybody and everybody.

Naomi Hartl

Tips for Funding a Robotics Program

  • Start small. Expensive equipment doesn’t need to be added immediately. Start young students, as young as Kindergarten, with free online coding courses.
  • Make calls to local companies. Specifically, look at local businesses that have, or will have, a need for future employees to be proficient with coding.
  • Apply for grants. Many organizations are invested in furthering education in robotics.
  • Community involvement. Whether it’s a big city or small town, community members are often excited and willing to support new programs in their schools.
  • Integrate into other subject areas. In the spirit of starting small, you also don’t need a complete, independent robotics program right from the start. You can work coding and robotics into many core subject areas. Even outside math and science, there are creative ways to integrate robotics into ELA, the arts (turn STEM into STEAM!), and even physical education.
Naomi Hartl Headshot — Kids, Health

Naomi Hartl is not shy about her passion for all things science and STEM and making a positive impact on the lives of educators and students. For over 3 years, she taught middle and high school content, plus an additional year teaching elementary content. She has taught physical education, multiple levels of math, and science, and has also worked in Product Development and Curriculum writing for four years. Naomi holds an Oregon teaching license for PreK through grade 12 health and physical education, plus a Saskatchewan Profession “A” Teaching License. She has presented at international, national, state, and local conferences.

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