Robotics competitions are currently at the forefront of our ever-changing technological world. Competitions bring entertainment, coupled with education (Edutainment) which motivates, and encourage students of all ages to work together. Edutainment delivers required experience to students while learning through gamification and enables them to think intellectually and be innovative. In the modern day, it is important to learn relevant skills which will help students prepare for better future and help students navigate the shift from traditional, old-school technology to newer and more advanced tech. It is observed that edutainment help students learn and develop 21st century skills efficiently through these championships/competition formats. Robotics competitions strengthen various abilities and skills – both hard and soft – that are needed in the 21st century like computational thinking, self-directed learning, creative problem solving, time management, teamwork and more. Robotics competitions can have an extraordinary positive impact on students.
What can students gain from robotics competitions?
To cultivate innovators in our youth today, robotics competitions allow school students to showcase their designs and engineering strategies at such an early age. More than that learning the required skills needed to build a robot, coding it, building strategies to solve various problems in a competition format, gain understanding, and investigate on new technologies. With automation across every industry, there will be a huge demand for STEAM graduates in India who can lead our nation with innovation in future. . Schools across the nation are shifting focus to Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) as a New Age education system. These robotic competitions aim to engage students in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Mathematics) Education to boost their interpersonal skills, and apply what they learn into something real. In addition to learning valuable engineering skills, students gain life skills such as teamwork, perseverance, communication, collaboration, project management, and critical thinking.
The hardware and software that accompany robotics give students the creative liberty and analytical skills to approach any problem with myriad solutions. Experiential learning’s like these can aid the individuals to make effective decisions. The use of robotics in the current education system in India is an interesting admixture of theory and practical and edutainment platforms like robotic competitions enable students not to become a passive target of an archaic education system.
Biggest advantage of these healthy competitions is to bring collaborate skills in students where they learn to work together in teams. Taking them out of their silos and create a sense of team-player, carrying defined responsibilities, enable them to take critical decisions and be responsible for success and failure as team.
Edutainment takes learning into a whole new dimension through these competitions where students get some space from their digital lifestyle and work on experiential for of gamified learning. These also comfort parents that their child is on progressive path, building skills which are very much required to sustain themselves in future and gaining knowledge in a collaborative environment – where outcomes are clearly defined.
A few of the top robotic competitions in India
As the Indian IT landscape is geared to welcome and embrace industry 5.0, robotics & AI has become the focus of industries. As the demand for jobs in this field is increasing the number of takers in school & college levels has doubled in recent times. As robotics technology which is all set to change shop-floors and workspaces of tomorrow, students as young as six-year-olds are enrolling in robotics training institutes to master this. And for this very reason, the number of avenues for students to exhibit their robotics skills, creativity, and innovations has increased with time, with these competitions giving away handsome prize monies, as well.
While there is the World Robotic Olympiad (WRO), which is touted as the largest, organized by the Indian STEM Foundation and is held since 2006, there are many global competitions like ‘Technician’, with their Indian chapters. Robot fest, on the other hand, is an autonomous robotics program for students and its mission is to generate excitement among young people for STEM education. The MakeX Robotics Competition prepares students to become future innovators. The robotics challenge sparks a student’s passion for STEAM careers. It helps students build self – confidence and digital literacy skills. Student participants cultivate 21st Century skills that serve them long after the robot has been built, helping them become the next generation of innovators, technology leaders, and creative problem solvers. Aligning itself with the same philosophy, Indian STEAM Premier League “ISPL” is the only competition in India which brings the STEAM education format as a learning pedagogy across all grades and enhances 21st-century skillsets in a ‘continuous’ healthy competition league which will happen throughout the year with multiple events for school students on STEAM.
The competitive edutainment tournaments help one develop & evaluate his/her modern skills through periodic journeys. Students go through a number of evaluation rounds such as STEAM aptitude test, Project and championship events, etc. In an environment of fun and joy, the competition allows students to learn various aspects of competitive life. Awards and recognitions will be highly instrumental in shaping up the future of a child and empower them to become responsible global citizens.
(The article is authored by Mr. Amit Verma, (Director and CEO, Makebot)