keynote talk by  Paulo Blikstein & Arnan Sipitakiat

Educational Robotics is almost 40 years old. During these four decades, it went from a curiosity to a worldwide phenomenon that is now present is thousands of schools. However, the landscape of educational robotics is full of contradictions and questionable design: often products and practices are not well-adapted to children, and the “competition fever” often contradicts best pedagogical practices. Also, there is a considerable equity gap: while children in affluent schools have access to a multitude of platforms, students in public schools often are only exposed to the simplest of experiences. In this talk, we will talk about the history of educational robotics, discuss research-based design principles, present examples of good and bad design, and demonstrate a brand new lineage of open-source platforms for educational robotics that, we hope, will help lead the field into the future.

invited talk by Gary Stager: Thinking About Thinking About Robotics

In these turbulent times, we are blessed with the availability incredibly powerful, affordable, and accessible technology sadly accompanied by an absence of vision for its educational use. This paradox may be caused by an absence of metaphors for thinking about thinking with robotics materials. Dr. Stager will share an expansive view of robotics to serve a diverse population of learners, discuss contexts for using robotics as a vehicle for knowledge construction, and share models for inspiring teachers to embrace the potential of robotics as an expressive medium and incubator of powerful ideas.