The World Robot Olympiad (WRO) is an international educational robotics competition. Each year a country is chosen to host the final round of the tournament and it serves as a context for the challenges that make up each category.
Two students from the robotics extracurricular at O Castro British International School travelled to La Seu d'Urgell to compete in the phase prior to the grand final of the World Robot Olympiad, which this year takes place in Panama next November. Although both Carmen and Olivia managed to correctly complete all the challenges in their category and achieve a very high score in them, other participants managed to take the top places by completing them in less time, another decisive factor in the challenges. However, the experience they had was tremendously enriching as they were able to compete in an international tournament, meet other teams of young robotics enthusiasts and cooperate to solve difficult challenges that put their skills to the test. We are so proud of them!
Our young students competed in the Start category, for children aged eight to 12, in the RoboMission challenge. This challenge consisted of designing, building and programming a robot using pieces from the Lego Spike kit that, simulating waste management in the Panama Canal, would perform certain tasks on a board
Needless to say, their performance was outstanding as they solved all the challenges, achieved a very high score, worked very well as a team and, above all, thoroughly enjoyed the whole process.
Advantages and benefits of STEAM programmes
The reality in which we live and the future that we envisage suggest the need to incorporate into the daily practice of school classrooms educational experiences that help young people to develop skills and competences in what for some time now has been called STEAM (Science, technology, engineering, arts and maths).
If you look at the current job market, you will notice that most of the most sought-after jobs are linked in one way or another to these disciplines. What is more, it is not that they are related to one of them, but rather that, in general, what is most sought after are professionals who know how to integrate knowledge and skills in several of these fields. This can be seen at first glance, but the need to teach STEAM from an early age goes beyond that. According to numerous studies, around 65% of children around the world starting primary school at this time will have jobs that have not yet been invented (Heffernan, 2011), and which are directly or indirectly related to new technologies (Davidson, 2012).
Facing unknown challenges, solving problems in original ways, adapting to revolutionary technologies... These will be the skills most valued by the labour market to come and, therefore, the skills that children must develop and the earlier they start doing so the better prepared they will be for the world that awaits them.
The development of logical and creative thinking, active learning and teamwork are other key dimensions of STEAM educational projects. When students are immersed in such contexts, their motivation and attitude towards learning are greatly enhanced, and academic results also improve significantly (Rivet and Krajcik, 2004; Williams and Linn, 2003).
This is why proposals such as robotics and educational computer programming are exceptional ways of developing all these skills in students, which are so beneficial for their growth and holistic learning, since through fun activities and games, children must incorporate knowledge from these learning areas (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) in an integrated way and put them into practice in a competent way to solve real problems.
In conclusion, they are a magnificent opportunity to enrich the educational journey of our students, improving the current teaching-learning process, bringing out the best in each of them and doing so with a view to the future and the needs it will bring.