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Learning Robotics, with Robotics, by Robotics by Elisabetta Zibetti, Ilaria Gaudiello

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Introduction: Educational Robotics

The process of democratization of technology that has taken place since 1980 in the professional, tuition and entertainment spheres has paved the way for a renewal of education. Soon after the computer entered our society, Papert and Solomon [PAP 72] published “Twenty things to do with a computer”. At that time, these authors observed that, when asked what they thought about computers in education, people had different ideas. Some imagined future students as computer programmers: these people thought that the next generation would have learnt and mastered programming as a normal process of alphabetization; others, by contrast, apprehended the possibility that the computers would have “programmed” the students, i.e. a massive use of technology in education could have irreversibly transformed students ways of thinking and communicating in a machine-like manner.

Today, a new technological revolution has started, namely the robolution [BON 10]. This revolution seems to be so powerful and pervasive that our times have been defined as “the era of the robot”. Daily use of robotics is encouraged in an extensive range of domains, among which is the educational domain. However, caution should be used with regard to a revolution that could be dictated by industrial development and technological progress more than by authentic educational needs.

It thus becomes urgent to understand the usefulness of integrating robots in the educational system. Such urgency ...

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