TCEA 2017 Coverage

RobotLAB introduces Engage! K–12 Platform for Teaching with Robots

robot

RobotLAB, a San Francisco-based ed tech company, has launched a new digital platform that aims to transform the learning experience by providing robot-based lessons for a wide range of subjects and age levels.

Engage! K–12 is an interactive and hands-on learning tool organized by accessible themes (such as soccer-playing robots or autonomous cars). Students and teachers can access the browser-based learning ecosystem from any device. A user-friendly interface allows teachers, even those with no programming experience, to bring their lessons to life with virtual or physical robots.

Engage! K–12 currently houses a wide variety of lessons focusing on subjects or concepts that students often struggle with. Lessons are searchable by grade level, subject, and Common Core State Standards (CCSS) or Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), and cover topics from coding to STEM to storytelling. Teachers can use RobotLAB’s existing lessons, customize them for their classes or create their own. Each lesson leads students from idea to construction to application to results.

Every lesson is designed to spark students’ curiosity and use this engagement to teach them the subject at hand. For instance, a lesson that combines coding and algebra begins with the teacher showing a video of humanoid robots playing soccer. The question “How do the robots know where to kick the ball?” leads to a discussion of using linear equations to solve the problem. 

Students then use integrated tools such as drag-and-drop programming and a graphing calculator to help them manipulate virtual robots to kick the ball to the goal. They can then receive immediate feedback by watching their commands played out by physical robots. Schools have the option to add their existing robots to the online lessons or choose the budget-friendly Simulation Mode of Engage! K–12, which uses virtual robots only and allows students to learn from anywhere.

Engage! K–12 includes classroom-management features, student assessment and themed lesson plans for different grades, enabling schools to easily integrate it “out of the box” into their curricula. Engage! K–12 also includes interactive tools to enhance the learning experience in the classroom, such as a customizable polling system that allows students to share answers and teachers to instantly find out what concepts the class has and hasn’t grasped. Students’ responses are translated into a word cloud to stimulate class discussion and collaboration.

At the TCEA conference in Austin, Feb. 6-10, RobotLAB will use humanoid robots and its newly introduced autonomous car program to showcase curriculum for K–12 programming and coding, high school algebra and elementary school storytelling.

To experience Engage! K–12 in person, visit booth 1829 at TCEA. For more information, visit RobotLAB’s website.

About the Author

Richard Chang is associate editor of THE Journal. He can be reached at rchang@1105media.com.

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