June 15, 2005

Robotics in Japanese Schools

Japan's robot-led recovery

Very interesting article on Japan's focus on children's education and technology, with a special emphasis on robotics. One interesting aspect is that while teachers and students want to learn robotics, teachers usually don't have a lot of robotics training, so they're learning along with the kids.

One problem is that the two teachers are far from robot experts and are learning along with the students.

An official from Japanese robot-maker Vstone Co Ltd is a guest but he is no education expert and his presentation is heavy on jargon. The students look puzzled. When the robot's arm finally moves a fraction of a centimetre, relief spreads across their faces.

I've noticed that quite a bit of Japanese pop culture shows robots & robotics as part of their future-mythos (the general idea of the future that most people at a given time hold: so, the United States 1950s future-mythos involved flying cars.) We strange Americans tend not to see robotics as much, but tend towards informational helpers rather than physical helpers: we see global information networks, but don't usually imagine robots building skyscrapers.

So it's not surprising that while the US sees the same math & science deficit in our schools, we tend to focus on computers rather than robotics. How cool is it to see a different approach!

Of course, the image that goes with the article still reminds me of a giant walking egg.

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Posted by Ted Stevko at June 15, 2005 03:38 AM | TrackBack