A new partnership will now make it possible for primary and high school students to access NAO, the worlds most widely used humanoid robot for education and research.
Swinburne University of Technology and The Brainary ®, a distributer of educational resources, have teamed up to deliver an interactive robotics workshop for school-aged children from schools across Australia and New Zealand.
The collaboration has enabled workshops to be run at an affordable rate, thus removing the cost barrier for schools to participate.
Swinburne’s Professor Leon Sterling, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Digital Frontiers) and Mr Hugh Kingsley from the Brainary shared a vision to introduce more young people to NAO, which has revolutionary applications for healthcare, rehabilitation and special education.
“During the workshop, students work together in teams using software to develop programming for NAO. Students then get to see their programming come to life on a real NAO robot,” Professor Sterling said.
A key element of the NAO Outreach Program is that it uses a peer-learning model where the program is delivered to the school students by Swinburne students.
“School students get the opportunity to learn from university students who are at the cutting edge of robotics,” Mr Kingsley said.
“Swinburne students also benefit on a practical level by sharing their knowledge, experience and research with school students,” Mr Kingsley said.
The partnership will bring about new and exciting projects that will make a positive difference to education and health, with practical outcomes.
Dr Therese Keane, senior lecturer in Education at Swinburne was involved in running a NAO workshop over the school holidays last year, seeing first-hand the benefits of school children interacting with advanced digital technology.
“Students were fully engaged in programming and interacting with the robots during the three day school holiday workshop,” Dr Keane said.
“It was an amazing opportunity for students to work with such technology."