The future is uncertain. This has always been true, but those words resonate more than ever. The influence of digital technology is moving the goalposts every day, affecting the nature of future employment. According to the Institute for the Future, 85% of jobs in 2030 don’t yet exist today. Perhaps it’s not that dramatic, but it certainly does make one think. To flourish in this future, people need to be both creative and technical. Some call this embracing our reflexive nature: a
Lulu Burger, Director of Education, Onsite Group.
recognition that no solution is perfect and that everything develops iteratively. This is very true for technology and skills such as programming, and robotics are the perfect ways to empower learners, says Lulu Burger, Director of Education at Onsite Group. “Robotics is not as much a ‘subject’ as it leads to the practising of essential skills for students when going into the technological world we live in. The principles of creating, building, coding and seeing the results of your efforts are essential to the skillset our students need.” Those skills are important for the future, but not only for employment. Interacting with robots and other digital innovations will be part and parcel of our future lives, so even a basic understanding of the principles involved will be very useful. Imagine how much easier and more affordable your car maintenance would have been if a simple class explained the basics of your vehicle. Robots, programming and all the associated skills are the cornerstones of tomorrow’s society – and the learners who aren’t introduced to these will be poorer without them. “It is important for schools and parents to realise that all jobs will contain elements of robotics. These days there are more and more robotics clubs run as an extramural activity in schools. Alternatively, the IT teacher will incorporate coding and robotics into their computer lessons. The concept behind STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) lies within a cross-curricular approach to teaching where the traditional silos are challenged, and students use creative problem-solving techniques to “hack” real world problems. Robotics sits very comfortably inside STEAM as an enabler of the best solutions. For example, students solving an environmental challenge might create, build and code an application to solve the problem.” Most parents and teachers appreciate the importance of such knowledge. The tougher problem is making it a reality by introducing robotics into learning environments. Though there are robot clubs, apps and other means, few cater properly for learning environments and different skill levels within a group. In the future, we will either program or be programmed.  

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