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New partnership to introduce schoolchildren to the world of robots

Editorial
article image The workshop will have students working together in teams using software to develop programming for NAO

A new partnership between Swinburne University of Technology and educational resources distributor The Brainary will deliver interactive robotics workshops for schoolchildren across Australia and New Zealand. The partnership will enable primary and high school students to access NAO, the world’s most widely used humanoid robot for education and research.

The NAO Outreach Program has been made affordable to remove the cost barrier for schools to participate in the educational workshops.

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 in healthcare, rehabilitation and special education.

Professor Sterling explained that the workshop will have students working together in teams using software to develop programming for NAO. Students will then get to see their programming come to life on a real NAO robot.

The NAO Outreach Program uses a peer-learning model where the program is delivered to school students by Swinburne students. According to Mr Kingsley, school students get the opportunity to learn from university students who are at the cutting edge of robotics. At the same time, Swinburne students will also benefit on a practical level by sharing their knowledge, experience and research with school students.

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, who was involved in running an NAO workshop over the school holidays last year, had the opportunity to see first-hand the benefits of schoolchildren interacting with advanced digital technology.

Dr Keane recalled that students were fully engaged in programming and interacting with the robots during the three-day school holiday workshop.

Schools across Australia and New Zealand can now register for the program by emailing nao@thebrainary.com

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