Popplet in The Robotics Classroom: The Future Is Now

Don’t be scared! The advance of robotics is not turning out to be the Terminator-like experience of the movies: Schools still exist and they are not teaching our kids how to protect themselves from the Arnold Schwarzenegger type androids prophesied in The Rise of the Machines. The dystopian nightmare scenario is not how things are playing out at all. In fact, the future is looking pretty good for humankind’s collaboration with Artificial Intelligence. In saying that, it would be foolish to entirely ignore the cautionary tales contained in Isaac Asimov’s: I, Robot. Why we see so many Popplets about Online Safety, maybe.



We know all about our bright digital future because of the increasing number of popplets that we see featuring Automation, Robots, Artificial Intelligence, and society’s ever-widening use of new technologies. This is the future – no doubt!

So, are you ready for the future as glimpsed on Popplet? – Engage!

The Future Is Now

Robots are everywhere. No longer are they confined to the realm of Science Fiction. Since the invention of the computer, and especially over the last ten to fifteen years, we are encountering them more and more: in industry, the intelligent telephone voice, and digital assistants such as Siri and Alexa. Even the robots that walk and talk like us exist, but they are not quite ready to perform their science fiction like roles just yet.

Technology Integration Specialist, Mandy Bishop knows this, and thanks to her so do her fifth-graders. These lucky learners recently created popplets about “how we are using robots in our world and how we are getting closer to building one”. Check out one of the awesome student presentations below:

More Robotic Research

Ms. Klyczek’s PLTW class at Round Lake Village Elementary School was involved in a similar project and published a ton of great images on Facebook. We learned a thing or two: Roomba robotic vacuum cleaners and more from iRobot, AIBO robotic pets… – the future really is now!

Autonomous Robots at Work in Society

What exactly is an autonomous robot? To answer that question, PLTW Launch Master and Teacher, Mrs. Kelly Newton of Ann Arbour, Michigan, had her 5th-graders collaborate on some robotic research. When the young scientists were done they presented their findings to their classmates using Popplet and the results are outstanding. The example below is about drones. If you check the original post, you’ll also find more examples of how autonomous robots are currently being used in health, industry, and in cars.

Building and Programming a Lion with Lego (Montar y Proramar un León con Lego)

We all remember when Lego was all about building houses and creating homely or worklike scenarios, don’t we? Well, maybe not. Anyway, now Lego is all about rebuilding and recreating scenes from TV and movies. The pedagogical benefits of such activities are obvious, and Lego has always been a super cool learning device for kids!

Lego has recently taken its pedagogical approach to a whole new level with the ambitious Lego Education. One great feature of which is that not only can you build stuff, but students can also learn how to code and program their new-born creations to carry out tasks – robots! That’s what the students of Colegio de la Encarnación in Salamanca, Spain did. They used Popplet for their research. Check out their work below:

Safety First!

Where to begin when it comes to teaching kids about technology? Safety online is where. (Remember Asimov!). Unfortunately, the internet, the hub of the digital revolution, is by nature both good and bad, so students need to learn how to use it safely. These “rules for staying safe online” popplets, from the Year 1 and Year 2 pupils of Parkfield Primary School, Manchester, England, are packed with good advice which could benefit everyone. The popplet below is from Aaron, but you can find more good safety advice by clicking the link above.

Are you optimistic about our inevitable digitally driven, robot filled future or are you still scared? Are you using Popplet in your robotics learning? If you are, we would love to hear from you. Join the Popplet community on Twitter, or on our Facebook page. If you’d like to know more about Popplet and our plans and how to get ten free complimentary Popplet boards visit the Popplet homepage and sign up.