How Does Robotics Education Improve Students’ Creativity?
Robotics learning revolves around two creative activities: design and a system that includes the building and programming of a robotic device. Designing such a system requires creativity. Oftentimes, students run into unanticipated problems that they must solve to create a well-functioning robotic device. Solving such problems also requires creativity.
1. Creativity through problem framing in robotics designs.
In the case of robotics, students may focus on creating several different designs for different purposes. For example, they may design a robotic vehicle or device for use in a scientific or they may design a machine or vehicle capable of performing a certain type of work or solve specific challenges, or they may design a robotics system that models a biological system.
2. Creativity in problem-solving through open-ended problems.
Robotics challenges may be considered ill-structured in that there are always multiple solutions and multiple solution paths. This is so as equally successful solutions to a robotics challenge may include differently constructed robotic devices and differing computer programs, Because of this, students solving robotics problems may be more likely to develop their solutions to a robotics problem. When tackling an open-ended problem, students have the chance to develop their heuristic approach to the solution; this is often a creative endeavour in itself. Whereas, simply applying an existing, step-by-step algorithm to solve a closed problem does not require much creativity.
Framing a problem refers to seeing the problem from a specific perspective or with a specific lens. For example, the designer can choose to frame the problem from the perspective of a naive or novice user of a product, and in this way think about the basic functionality of a device. However, one may also choose to frame a problem from the perspective of the nature of the problem to be solved – what are the constituent elements of the problem and how can a design address each? In this way, students creatively will surely grow with no doubt.