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Expert calls for robotics education in schools for efficient learning

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BY MUSBAUDEEN SHEKONI

The Director, PLEDGE51, a Lagos indigenous Mobile Development Company, Engr. Bayo Puddicombe has stressed the need to inculcate Robotics (Education), an aspect of technology that focuses on the design, construction, operation, and application of robots into Nigerian school curriculum.

According to him, the method captures several elements of critical thinking, programming, logic, artificial intelligence and in more than just using robots, he said it is the way of thinking that Nigerians need to assimilate this country forward into the 21st century realities.

The call came as Exposure Robotics Academy (XRA), an initiative of Nigerian Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) students, which seeks to train students in Robotics, held the grand finale of her annual robotics training course, now in the second edition, for 45 secondary school pupils from 14 states across the country in a-five week sojourn at Grange School, GRA, Ikeja.

Engr. Bayo who radiated strong support at the endeavour noted that the incorporation of the practical aspect of this brand of education into the Nigerian school curriculum will encourage creativity which will solve numerous societal issues.

According to him, “As they learn about robotics and they develop this knowledge and become experts there are going to be problems in the Nigerian market and society that these kind of  technologies they have learnt would be able to solve when the time comes they would be in the best position to take advantage of it.

“There are so many things that we do in this country that are aided by expatriates workers or companies but when you look at it and break it down to the basic components they are stuffs that we could do ourselves if only we could develop our capacities.”

The robotics training programme was presided over by a team of five instructors from MIT as well as three teachings assistants from Columbia University and University of Ibadan.

In the finale, participants competed against one another displaying the skills acquired during the training. In the tournament round qualified into by 8 teams, the contestant teams used a robot in a simulation to find a blockade in the human blood vessel.

, there are six passage ways along the channel, the robot must go down the channel trying to find where the blockages are, the team which could clear the blockages the fastest became the best.

In the keenly contested competition, Team DBIG trounced other teams, standing high amongst them. The team comprising three members, Onyeahialam Gregory, SS3 student, Kings College, Lagos, Bio-IbogomoEbi, SS3-New Total Child Academy and MaduekeChidozie, SS2 student of Government College, Ugheli, used their robots to demonstrate how nano technology can be used to carry out bone transplant, by sending nano robots into human body to perform the surgery.

Also speaking, the President of XRA, Mr.ObinnaOkwodu, a Civil Engineering student at the MIT, said, “The reason that we started the programme is that we felt that there is a need for the Nigerian students to be taught how to think straight strictly and there is no such thing in our education system right now but this programme achieves that because Robotics teaches students how to solve problems on their own, we supply them the tools they need to think a way through complex situations and create solution.”

“We understand that not all these students are going to be Robotics Engineers but robotics emphasizes three very important things: problems solving or using a proof to solve problems in everyday life situations, it emphasizes creative thinking and also team work, these three things are important wherever you find yourself so we are trying to challenge them to be able to learn these things and if they do want to go on to become Robotics Engineers they can but more importantly we are trying to challenge them than we are trying to  make them Robotics Engineers.”

 

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