Dave Catlin, designer of Roamer continues his look at robotics in education. In the first article, he explained you could use robots in schools in two ways. Educational technology uses robots to help teach. And technology education refers to learning about robots. In this article, he focuses on technology education and the potential of robots as part of Design Technology. This Technology Today published this article in September 2007.
Sometime in 1983 a friend said he wanted to talk to me and asked me to visit. I duly arrived at his home near London’s Clapham North Tube station and found another friend, Derek Deardon, also in attendance. This was an evening that changed my life. Our host was Anth Ginn, a primary school teacher and aspiring journalist. In those days he was also tutoring children of VIPs who breezed into London with their families. Derek was an electronic and I was a mechanical engineer. Anth wanted us to design a robot Turtle he could use with his VIP students. He proceeded to tell us about Seymour Papert, Logo and Turtles. I had served an engineering apprenticeship, gone to University and then worked for 15 years as a contract design engineer honing my skills in industries as diverse as jet engine, oil rigs, computer simulators, car production lines… a long list. Despite all the study, training and experience I was aware that my chief skills were the ability to think, analyse and problem solve. Here was Anth telling me about an educator who wanted wanted to teach kids to think. I was sold. Yesterday I was going through Reuben Hoggett’s excellent web site Cyberneticzoo.com and there was a copy of an article Anthony Ginn interviewing Seymour Papert. This is a reproduction of the interview first published in Practical Robotcs Nov – Dec 1984. (more…)