How is it related to an AI lab, tinkering lab, IoT lab and coding lab?
How are they different? Are they a STEM lab?
How to setup a robotics lab in our school? What do we need for that?
As I visited a school for a “creativity party” I was welcomed by all these questions from the curious teachers. Indeed for non-tech people these are all the buzzwords and the push towards implementation of New Education Policy in India (NEP) has just forced schools and teachers to act fast. Hence they are looking for a clear understanding of these technological things.
Here we will try to answer all these questions so you can make correct decisions to setup a Robotics lab in school.
What is a robotics lab at school? How is it different from AI lab, tinkering lab, STEM lab etc?
See STEM is a broader concept. STEM means science, technology, engineering and maths. At havi.co we believe that Arts without science is boring. In Fact scientific invention can reach the masses only when covered with beautiful arts, hence we support STEAM where A stands for Arts.
Robotics, IoT, AI, Coding all these are disciplines of this broader domain called STEAM.
Robotics is mostly related to physical objects and depending on the level of students it may or may not need computers for coding.
But if you are practicing IoT or coding, programming instruments, i.e. laptops would be required.
And for Artificial intelligence you may or may not need specialized hardware, but a coding instrument is essential.
So following is the summary that differentiates various of these tech topics.
Hope you have enough clarity about various of these labs.
Robotics lab setup requirements
You need following six things to setup a robotics lab at your school
1. Enthusiastic teachers and administrators
Yes, I would use the word enthusiastic and not necessarily to be an expert in robotics. Being agile, available, encouraging and desiring to learn is enough. A school will need such teachers in the team be they computer teacher, science and maths teachers or art and craft teachers. Teachers who can encourage students to learn robotics, AI and other technologies are essential to set up a successful robotics lab at school. Just financial investment into space and equipment won’t work.
2. Adequate space
If you are a financially constrained school you can set up your lab in your regular classroom too. Just keep kits, toys and equipment into a cupboard when not in use. Take them back on benches when required. That’s because the robotics lab at school level does not need any large instruments. Everything can be boxed and unboxed in a short time.
Yes if you are looking for 3D printers you won’t be able to do so with them. That’s why you need a dedicated table where a 3D printer can lie with other printers and equipment.
But a 3D printer is a part more of a tinkering lab than a robotics lab.
You can setup the robotics and STEAM lab with your computer lab or science lab as well.
And you can setup a robotics lab in a dedicated room with furniture.
So decide depending on the financial strength of the school……
Can setup a robotics and STEAM lab in a dedicated room where at least 25-30 students can be accommodated with tables, chairs and aisle.
Can dedicate a corner or some space of their existing science and computers lab towards robotics and STEAM lab.
Can have one or more cupboards to store the robotics kits, toys and equipment. Take them out when in need and put them back once used.
3. Toys, tools and equipments required for the robotics lab
Robotics learning starts with Havi Elements DIY Robotics Starter Kit. You need at least 20 kits plus 10 extra power banks and power elements to accommodate 30 students.
Greatest strength of this kit is its open ended nature and multi disciplinary learning. This kit can be used to teach concepts of Robotics, IoT, programming, electronics and other STEM topics. This kit is your tinkering tool, project creation and demonstration kit. And this very same kit is great to equally engage KG students and your not so tech savvy teachers to bring their interest into robotics and STEM.
Student manual and teachers’ manual come along with these robotics kits by havi.co
Along with Havi Elements DIY Robotics Starter Kit, there are certain toys and kits that support robotics and STEAM learning for beginners.
Once the students spend enough time with Havi Elements, they may build further interest into robotics and STEAM. And data shows that chances of opting for a STEAM career after playing and creating with Havi Elements increases by up to 97%.
Next comes level-2, the programmable Kits and Robots.
You can have havi elements programmable boards now which work with other havi elements. You will need computers or laptops from here onwards.
There are few programmable robots like Sphero and Lego MindStorm which you can have at school. However they are costly.
After this stage, again there will be a filter and interested students would like to tinker with circuits, next level of sensors, electronic components, jumper wires, bread boards and soldering. So have it only for them. Call it level 3.
So till now you have almost everything to set up and run a robotics, AI, IoT and programming lab.
On top of that you can have following in the lab
3D printers and 3D pens: Those students who develop interest in 3D design and prototyping will find 3D printers and 3D pens extremely useful.
A side note here. These students are more likely to become product and industrial designers in future, not necessarily in robotics and AI domains. But that’s the power of STEAM. Yes, Arts too can bring students into technology.
Advanced systems like robotic hands but then…. Sky is the limit. Depending on the budget and interest of students you can add many things.
You don’t need special furniture for a robotics lab. Your regular chairs and tables you use in science labs are good enough.
5. Design your robotics lab
You may like to have some stickers, posters and charts to design your robotics lab. And havi.co would be more than happy to help you here.
Setting up resources is the first step to start a journey. To succeed students in this technology domain, all they need is your trust.
Yes, freedom to do things themselves.
During this, they may break things, waste some material, overuse the resources or do some mischief too. But that’s where a teacher comes in. Not necessarily a teacher but a facilitator who can guide the right way to use, can have patience to channelize student’s energy and if required, identify the rightly interested students when allocating resources.
But that freedom to create is essential. Yes, one class a week is fair enough as part of course. But don’t expect great creations to happen in those 45 minutes. It takes time: weeks, months, years…..
Next you need programmable boards like arduino and a few other sensors and accessories. A budget of 20,000-50,000 Rs can do good at this stage. Again depends on the number of students you want to engage at a time.
You need computers or laptops. You might already have those in the computer lab. Checkout the prices in your local shop or over online marketplaces if you want to buy new.
3D printers do cost between 50,000 to 2,50,000 Rs. But as said earlier you can do without it for robotics at least. You can add later too.
You may need some tables and chairs, if not already there in school.
Apart from this you may have some recurring cost of lab supplies. The lab supplies include basic art and craft material like tape, construction papers, cardboards, colors, sticks etc. This also includes filaments for 3d printers and 3d pens. Certain budget should be allocated to maintenance, repairs and replacement if things break physically.
Proposal to setup a robotics lab
Here we have prepared a template to prepare a proposal to setup a robotics lab in school. This will help you quickly evaluate your needs and get a clear idea about budget and timeframe.
You can download the template, fill in the details and send us back. We will evaluate and help you further.