Photo: Wyss Institute
It's not hard to see kids these days fiddling with smartphones and tablet devices playing games and taking their lessons with interactive apps. Do not be surprised if kids start writing codes for robots in a few years' time. Professors at Harvard's Wyys Institute want to make "coding just the most natural thing" for kids.
Teaching abstract coding that doesn't have any relationship with the real world to kids is very challenging, so the professors take the route of logic and consequence to get them involved actively in the learning process. Faculties at Wyys have developed a robot called Root that helps kids to learn coding by allowing them to give instructions and perform a specific task like drawing a circle or following a line or doing a particular maneuver. "A young kid understands consequences. If this, then this will happen. Now they get to programme the consequences to the robot," says Radhika Nagpal, professor at Wyss Institute.
In the beginning, children are taught some basic code that has nothing to do with languages, once they get a hang of the concepts they can move to more abstract concepts. The idea is, with hundreds of programming languages available, the one that suits children at a particular age group is picked.
The professors at Wyss say that the ecosystem for this system already exists. The required robot hardware and software is available now to bring this disruptive technology
in the education.
"We have a vision to fill every classroom with the robots.Root is more than one robot for a classroom. It's a platform that can reach any grade level from kindergarten to all the way up to college," says Zivthan Dubrovsky, platform lead at Wyss Institute.