Giving children a hands-on experience in robotics

Creative Robotics programme looks to develop and prepare young students for careers in future industries

14:01 October 6, 2017
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Abu Dhabi: Children as young as five years are getting a hands-on experience in building and programming their own robots thanks to an innovative educational programme that is looking to develop the skill sets of young students for a 21st century job market.

Khalid Al Mansouri

Founded in 2014 by Noor Al Deen Ahmad and Khalid Al Mansouri, Creative Robotics holds daily classes at their centres in Marina Mall in Abu Dhabi and iMall in Sharjah, providing a platform and unique opportunity for young students to engage in the field of robotics.

“We opened Creative Robotics in the UAE in 2014 with the main goal of engaging young people with activities that would increase both their creativity and innovation. Our group uses the platform of robotics as a learning tool for young children. The skills and approaches they learn in our sessions can one day be applied by them in the real world and disciplines they will go on to pursue,” said Ahmad, explaining the idea behind Creative Robotics.

“We refer to each daily session as a mission, with these missions usually lasting for around two hours. For each mission, the students are given a briefing of the challenge and what they need to do in order to successfully accomplish the task.

“The missions are created to solve real-world problems, for example, one mission can be related to an environmental issue, so the missions always vary,” he added.

Noor Al Deen Ahmad

Once the students are tasked with their mission, the next step for them is to design and build a robot suitable to handling the challenge, according to Ahmad.

“There is step-by-step process for every mission. The first step is what we call the strategy. In this part, the student strategises the mission, thinking about what they will build and how. After this comes the design phase, in which the student designs the robot they want to build, and once their design is complete, they then go about building the robot,” he said.

“After the robot is built, the next stage is to start the programming to get the robot to function and work properly. After the programming is finished, there is the competition part, where the students compete with each other to see who has done the best job according to the challenge, and then finally there is the evaluation, which is to basically see what they have learnt from the entire process,” he added.

“Most of this process is left to the students themselves so as to allow them to get the most out of the experience rather than having an instructor doing most of the work,” he said.

According to Ahmad, more than 50,000 students have been able to experience the programme thanks to the group’s partnerships with educational institutions in the country.

“We work with partners like the Abu Dhabi Education Council [currently called Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge], and so we go into classrooms giving students the opportunity to experience what we are doing. All of this on top of the many other public events we have held and our own daily sessions, we have had at least 50,000 people try out our programme, so that has been very good news,” he said.

Ahmad said that the group was also focusing on getting female students involved with the programme.

“The make-up of students involved is absolutely broad mixed and gender neutral. At least 30 per cent of our participants are girls; they really enjoy this activity and are also very good at it.

“In many cases, we have seen that the female participants did better than the males, so we are definitely looking at getting more females involved in our programme and reaching out to them,” he added.

How to register

Registration can be done online through the group’s official website