As an integral part of the National and State agenda, coding and robotics are quickly becoming mandatory within the Australian Digital Technologies Curriculum. Teaching technologies with NAO not only prepares students for future employment in the digital age but also provides an appreciation of how robotics can help in the community today.
NAO is a unique platform both in functionality and design that inspires learners of all ages and abilities; from competent coders to those who have previously shown little or no interest in STE(A)M related areas.
How Coding and Robotics fit into STE(A)M:
NAO is the perfect platform to create differentiated classes that combine hard-skills in technology with equally important soft-skills learned in the humanities. In fact, a recent report by Deloitte Access Economics emphasises the importance of soft-skills in the workplace, predicting that soft-skills will account for two thirds of jobs by 2030. Example lessons could include:
Mathematics – Use NAO to program coordinates or to walk along an X and Y axis to finish at a certain angle, or use NAO’s 25 degrees of freedom to animate the robot by placing its body parts at different angles. Nao can also process complex data and equations.
Drama – Combine Drama, English Classics, and ICT to program NAO robots to perform Shakespeare’s plays as a school in the UK has done.
LOTE – Several Australian schools have used NAO in interactive language classes where students program conversations in LOTE, including an indigenous language. NAO currently speaks 19 different languages.
Create Capable Coders:
Three features that set NAO apart from other robotics programs:
Drag and Drop Programming and Python - The NAO Chorégraphe Software comes with an icon-based environment that eases students into algorithmic logic and programming principles. The interface also provides easy access to Python code and exercises in the accompanying STEM textbook offer multiple levels: beginner through to advanced.
A Focus on Coding with a Humanoid Robot – NAO’s humanoid features allow students to create real life human-robot interactions. Rather than simply focusing on programming and coding, students program social interactions and learn about communication in an entirely new way.
Virtual Robot – Chorégraphe provides a 3D virtual robot, enabling students to test their programs, troubleshoot, and refine their programs without needing access to the actual NAO robot hardware. This makes NAO a scalable and cost effective solution for multiple classes.
Inspiring Reluctant Coders:
Engagement - NAO is both an educational and motivational resource. NAO’s human characteristics of sight, speech, touch, hearing and movement connect to various student interests and captivate them on both intellectual and emotional levels. Students who see themselves as typically “person-oriented, non-STEM types” can become engaged initially through NAO’s likeable persona. Students can then start envisaging ways that NAO can be programmed to fill various roles in society and create their own projects that will ultimately require more complex coding. As such, NAO is a powerful tool to attract otherwise reluctant students into STE(A)M subjects and future careers.
Competitions - Using NAO, STE(A)M education can come alive with the ability to run coding competitions that culminate in public events where NAO performs student programs. Digital Learning and Teaching Victoria host an annual dance contest called ‘Everybody Dance NAO!’ in conjunction with The Brainary.
Community Engagement - NAO is a “professional level robot” used in numerous Australian Universities, commercial settings, and the health sector for rehabilitation. Programming with NAO demonstrates the impact of robotics in the wider community and allows students to create projects which directly influence their communities. By working with NAO students can critically engage with community issues and gain a richer understanding of diversity, such as how NAO assists people with autism, dementia and younger children.
NAO Education Package:
The Brainary’s package includes everything a school needs to engage students and teachers alike in STE(A)M, including expert teacher professional development, ongoing support, and a textbook with ten modules on how to program the NAO robot using Python Coding and Drag and Drop Programming. The textbook also comes with a DigiTech Curriculum Companion that matches exercises to the Australian Curriculum.