When it comes to the impact AI-based technology has on society, headlines tend to focus on robot-driven cars, algorithm-fueled stock market picks, and apps that can ease your morning commute. For as useful as these innovations are to everyday life and your well-being, however, they pale in comparison to the benefits that robotic technologies will have on innovation and human capital as it transforms education for younger children, particularly in science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM).
Children delight in the feel of things, wanting to get their hands dirty — both literally and figuratively — to experience sensations and envelop themselves in even the most mundane of tasks. The science behind this phenomenon is straightforward, children having significantly higher neural plasticity than any other stage of life. Simply put, a child’s mind is agile and open, thirsty for new experiences that utilize as many senses as possible to increase the absorption of information and, therefore, their ability to learn.
While introducing STEAM-oriented curriculum early in a child’s development is obviously a significant benefit that will pay dividends for the rest of their lives, the multisensory approach to learning that is innate to a child’s natural process of discovery will only amplify their absorption of the material and desire for more. Simply put, the more senses involved with STEAM education, the more readily it’s understood.
Robotics in STEAM Education
Introducing robotics and its associated technologies — including artificial intelligence, coding, and a variety of others — into early STEAM education plays a pivotal role in early education through both direct and subtle ways. First and foremost, robotics create a multisensory, experiential experience that, as studies have demonstrated, significantly increases a child’s capacity to learn. Robotic technology is inherently hands-on, a more visceral and encompassing way to learn that specifically aligns with a child’s natural tendencies to feel, hear, see, and experience their curiosities.
Also, given the ever-increasing importance robotics has in society, already commonplace in a broad spectrum of industries and applications, utilizing robotics in STEAM education introduces children to a technology that will be an economic pillar in the near future and then, of course, forever more. Robotics will be the cornerstone of every facet of commerce, redefining entire supply chains and how humans consume and behave. An early introduction to robotics will have an enduring positive impact that a child cannot outlive, giving them a distinct advantage in all aspects of life.
Innovative Thought Is Fundamental to Artistic Expression
Although the connection between robotics and the science, technology, engineering, and mathematical components of STEAM education are obvious, robotics can play a critical role in the artistic development of a child as well. Art, like much of technology, is built on imaginative and innovative thought, no matter if it takes the form of music, dance, painting, or prose.
An open-source platform that feeds instruction to a robot is a blank canvas for creative thought and inspiration, where a child can paint with binary code and see the tangible results. Furthermore, once again referencing a multisensory approach to learning, a broader scope of sensation only triggers inspiration and nonlinear thinking, both of which are crucial to artistic expression.
STEAM education focuses on preparation for a technologically-driven future while also harnessing a child’s natural curiosities to experience life in as many ways as possible. From coding to kinesiology, engineering to the imagination, robotics provide children an irreplaceable headstart on life that will forever be a source of stability, success, and intrigue.