Virtual robotics is a simulated environment in which individuals can design, control, and interact with robotic machines using computer programming skills. Rather than building and programming actual robots in a classroom or lab, students engage with virtual robots via their computers. Since it does not require specialized robotics equipment, the cost for a virtual robotics program is significantly less expensive than a physical robotics program.
Why Are Robotics Programs Important in Schools?
Robotics is one of the best ways to teach coding to students. Robotics programs offer students a way to practice and apply computer programming skills in the real world. This applied learning strengthens skills and retention while providing engaging real-world examples for how their new skills can apply to the world around them.
However, robotics programs for schools can have cost and expertise barriers, requiring a substantial upfront expense for the robots and programming software, as well as teacher training to support and run these programs. Virtual robotics offers the benefits of a robotics program in a more accessible, affordable way.
5 Benefits of Virtual Robotics in Schools
From affordability, accessibility and engagement, there are many benefits to utilizing virtual robotics in the classroom.
One of the primary reasons schools choose to implement a virtual robotics program is because of its affordability. Traditional robotics programs require physical equipment and tools to build and program physical robots, which often require a significant upfront expense. Virtual robotics programs transform robotics learning into a virtual, computer-based environment requiring only a computer with internet access.
2. Fully Supported Programs
While physical robotics classes require a teacher to provide hands-on learning, expertise, troubleshooting, support and individualized grading rubrics, virtual robotics simplifies the experience for teachers. With lessons contained in the virtual learning platform, teachers are not required to develop or support a unique robotics curriculum. Support, pacing and grading all take place within the program, providing an easy-to-implement solution for schools.
Because virtual robotics requires only a computer with an internet connection, the program is significantly more accessible than physical robotics programs. This helps to support schools that blend in-person and virtual learning or have limited equipment, financial capabilities or expertise. Because the robotics platform is in a virtual environment, it also means there is a better opportunity to adapt learning to a student’s age and capabilities. Students can begin with simple, entry-level challenges and practice more advanced skills as they become more confident in coding.
4. Engaging Challenges
A virtual robotics program helps guide students along specific challenges such as designing, controlling and interacting with virtual machines in exciting virtual environments — from roving the surface of Mars to searching in the depths of the ocean. It provides challenges such as navigation or manipulation that engage a student’s strategy and problem-solving skills in a fun, gamified experience, while also opening up their mind to the extensive use of robots in the world beyond the classroom.
Being able to support digital equity is becoming increasingly important in our technology-based world. While some schools and families are in a position to invest in expensive equipment and instructional expertise, some students do not have these opportunities. Virtual robotics helps to break down barriers to entry for these essential future-ready skills, making them accessible to more students.
Learn more about how virtual robotics is applied in the classroom by exploring the EasyCode virtual robotics program. Click the button below to learn more.