ST PAUL’S primary school in Mount Lawley has been introducing its students to the world of robotics and coding.
During first term this year, the students used webpages such as code.org and Scratch to catch up with technological advances, which led to an after-school coding club for year 3,4,5 or 6 students who wanted to further their knowledge.
“Robots are going to be important in our future,” says year 6 student Caitlin.
“More and more jobs are going to involve them.”
The school bought a Lego Mindstorm EV3 robot so the students could compete in this year’s Scitech RoboCup.
The kids had to build and program their robots as well as make costumes and props, and choreograph a dance.
The cup aimed to teach children the importance of teamwork and problem solving.
“I am really pleased we got to do RoboCup. I liked having to create a story and dance and program the robots,” Caitlin says.
Year 6 students at the school will later this year get build and programme Arduino coding and electronics kits with engineers at the CSIRO.
Thomas Braunl from UWA’s robotics and automation lab says St Paul’s is on the right track, but more Australian schools – particularly high schools – need to do more to promote robotics, computing and electronics.
“If they see something moving and learn something interesting, they might get an interest in studying it,” Prof Braunl said.
He says while there have been some amazing advances in robotics, predictions of a mass take-over of people’s jobs were a bit over-the-top.
“This has been said for 20 years, and is not happening at any tremendous rate.”
Prof Braunl says while some factory jobs had gone to robots, it had led to the creation of other “high-end” jobs such as programmers and engineers.
“Spending eight hours a day spray painting isn’t really that good a job.”
by KORO BROWN and STEVE GRANT