For a few years, we’ve been sharing with you a number of perspectives on education. Many are the thought leaders who thoughtfully shared their points of view on education, STEM, STEAM curricula, and cyber robotics in this, our STEM Blog. We’ve made sure you get to know Maria Montessori, Linda Liukas, Seymour Papert, Lev Vygotsky, and many other leaders who changed the way we interact, teach and learn.
At the same time, we’ve been giving the stage to those educators of our days and our world, who we deeply think are becoming change agents, who’ll transform the current paradigms of education into something more effective, innovative, and useful for a new generation of thinkers.
That is why we host STEM webinars, that is why we have our online community of STEM educators, and that is why we interview people you can reach out to with doubts, comments and concerns. In some sort of why, respecting a new, more horizontal structure of hierarchies our society now has.
It is in that spirit, that we decided to interview our CEO, Mr. Ido Yerushalmi, and ask him about education, robotics, STEM and about the future. See what Ido has to say in this interesting, insightful interview, full of inspiration for both administrators and educators.
Interviewing Ido Yerushalmi: “Don’t wait for standards to dictate what is required in your schools”
Between his office in New Hampshire and our R&D center in Rosh HaAyin, Israel, Ido made time to speak with you – through this blog post – in order to clarify who we are, how we think, and what are we planning for the near future. Make yourself comfortable and enjoy this short, insightful interview about education.
1. According to you, what is the main goal of education?
The main goal of education is to expose students to learning experiences through which they will develop individually, as well as gain experience in socializing and working with their peers. Ultimately, students develop the ability to think, inquire and learn about the world they live in. When we ask ourselves about 21st Century education goals – we should add mastery of information and understanding of technology and technological processes.
Data clearly indicates that female participation in STEM programs in high school or post-secondary institutions is significantly lower than male participation. It is not because they do not like STEM subjects or are less talented. It is because a lot of these programs are male-dominated – and a female participant will have a more difficult time expressing herself. So they just don’t sign up for these programs. What we have seen in the Cyber Robotics Coding Competition is that if you start getting the students interested in STEM at an earlier age (Middle School) – participation of males and females will be almost equal. The activity, which focuses on problem-solving using code and applying principles of engineering, is as accessible to females, as it is to males.
3. How do you imagine the classroom of the future? Travel in time about 20 years from now!
The question we are faced with is the relevance of what is being taught in the classroom, not how it is being taught and what is not being taught. Too Many schools are 2-3 years out from implementing their first technological program. Some schools are calling their shop classes – ‘technology’ to give the impression of progress.
Just as today every student takes math, science, English and social studies – I envision that in a few years every student will need to have several credits which are related to technology in order to graduate. Programming, automation and data processing sorting of information will become part of a person’s literacy. The other big change that I foresee is in how we teach will be the use of more advanced technology. With the technology available today – The learning experiences can quickly shift from text-video to interactive learning using high end simulations (AR/VR).
The learning experience can be more hands on and more relevant to developing specific skills and learning outcomes
4. What’s CoderZ vision for the next few years, when it comes to improving the classroom experience for both students and educators?
We have taken upon ourselves the mission of bringing robotics and coding to all. We quickly established that with our online platform – we can reach the smallest of the rural schools, as well as disadvantaged urban population and the schools that have robotics and CS already. We are making STEM more inclusive and equitable. Every student will be able to become technologically literate with CoderZ.
The Cyber Robotics Coding Competition has been a very successful initiative for us. We have grown to just under 80,000 students competing, in our second year! What does competition do? The learning suddenly becomes more of a fun activity.
The students become super motivated – they want to be recognized for their achievements. The teachers are excited – because the students come into class with a desire to learn and start working with a razor-sharp focus. The competition also enables the program to place more emphasis on some 21st-century skills. Students are solving problems in real time.
Collaborating with each other. Learning to think on their feet. Finally, our vision is to bring students from around the globe together through the competition. As we speak, we had teams from the US, Vietnam, Israel, UAE, Paraguay and Brazil compete. Working in teams across continents could be a great add on to our events.
6. What would you tell administrators out there? What is your inspirational message to them?
My message to administrators is ‘lead the way’. Don’t wait for standards to dictate what is required in your schools. Your students deserve technological programs today. If you can’t fit it into your budget, start an afterschool program. Encourage parent involvement in competitions. Introduce changes to the school culture – where alongside recognition of achievements in sports, recognize and appreciate the tech teams. Start early. Offer technological programs in middle school. Give students the opportunity to explore coding/robotics before they develop a bias against math related courses.
We truly thank Mr. Yerushalmi for his time and for his inspiring answers. Changes in the world of education will be made only by those who truly believe in how fundamental these changes are
Bringing robotics to all! Start teaching STEM with cyber robotics today!
Learning STEM with cyber robotics can bring your students a whole new skill set to face the dynamic challenges of the 21st century. If you want to experience how does it feel to teach STEM and STEAM with a gamified and online learning environment, that is fully compatible with the LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3, register for a 5-day free trial of CoderZ here.
May the code be with you!