Effective Utilization of Classroom Robotics for Autistic Children


Effective Utilization of Classroom Robotics for Autistic Children

The world is changing rapidly. With alterations in culture, taste, science and technology, new methods of executing work are being established. And in this transforming world, the Robots are playing a diverse role in the lives of humans.

Imaginations on mechanical non-biological of all sorts have already been established in the field of literature, films and popular culture - robots as companions as well as a potential threat to mankind. The duty of science and technology is to transform the positives of these ideas into reality, by keeping in mind the potential hazards.

Robots: As a Companion

Robots in humanoid shapes have always attracted children. They are entirely different entities that surge excitement, fun and happiness in them. Robots are mainly designed to carry out activities and toy robots have always incited joy and kept children engaged.

A robot named Nao has been built in the mantle of a child. It is a good companion and delivers its services as a football player while participating in the RoboCup Soccer Championship.

Robots: As a Tool in Education

Robots are a viable conduit for serving the educational needs of students. In the field of education, STEM is an important branch of studies featuring Science, Technology, Engineering and Management. Since children are very akin to robots, robotics is an effective option that is utilized in building the basic blocks of a child’s mind.

Here are a few robots:

Topo: A company named Androbot Inc designed a robot named Topo sometime around 1980. Topo was programmable using either the Apple II operating system or a modified programming language called ‘Logo’. The robot had the qualities of performing a few household tasks and it could speak as well.

LEGO Bots: The foundations of these robots had been laid in 1986, when the LEGO Company had collaborated with the MIT Media Lab. The sole purpose of this initiative was to make learning easier and to strengthen a child in the STEM fields. The software and technology of the robots are upgraded regularly.

VEX Robotics Design System: This is a robotic package, which looks forward to make students aware about the subject. And by the means of it, VEX Robotics Design System implements the basics and principles of the STEM subjects. The VEX Microcontroller is the epicenter where the robot’s program lies installed. It coordinates the commands made to the robot. It also processes the incoming signals received from both ends – human and onboard. This enables educators to modify projects in accordance to the needs of the students.  

Educational Robotics

Educational robotics is the process that helps the interested children learn about the STEM subjects. The body and framework are mentally conceived, which finally result in a physical shape operated by a computer program or software.  

The objectives of educational robotics are:

  • To make the learning process more organized
  • To increase the responsibility of the students
  • To let them discover their mistakes while creating
  • To support group activities, which help to socialize
  • To enhance their creative instincts
  • To make them skilled
  • To make learning attractive

Classroom Robotics for Autistic Children

For a normal human child, it is easy to adapt to various teaching modes. Undoubtedly, educational robotics is going to attract attention from all corners. But when it concerns autistic children, the scenario is slightly different.

Since autistic children are different from the normal kids, they find the robots to be reliable companions. Robots have a typical behavioral pattern, which does not alter. They function as per the commands made to them.

Humans, on the contrary, have different ways to react and behave. This is displeasing to the autistic kids. Robotics at the classroom level will not only help the children learn, but provide them happiness and joy.

These children feel insecure with humans. They are unable to make eye to eye contact. Since the robots look cute and attractive, the children vest their trust on them.  

Here are a few inputs of how the autistic children can be helped by classroom robotics:

  • The robots can be programmed to play memory games with the children. This will help to sharpen their minds.
  • The interactive and communicative skills of the children could be brushed.
  • Since the children follow the robots, it can influence their behavior. The robots are calm and friendly and this will help to improve the behavior of the children. Since the robots have a certain movement pattern, the children can follow it.
  • Using classroom robotics helps because the children are extremely focused towards learning, which does not happen when a human teacher is teaching.

Thus, classroom robotics, if used effectively and in a properly planned method, can yield good results, especially for children who are challenged.

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About the Author
Author: Amit MistryWebsite: http://www.robozone.in/
Amit Mistry is a technology enthusiast and an avid follower of robotics. He follows the developments in the world of robots and shares his views and advices on the subject through blogs. you may find more information from him through his Google+, Facebook and Twitter profile.

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