Over 100 students with special needs will benefit from robotics training in Abu Dhabi.
The Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec) held two days of robotics training workshops for teachers at the Zayed Higher Organization for Humanitarian Care and Special Needs (ZHO) to support robotics education amongst students with special needs in the UAE.
Robotics introduces the concept of teaching modern science through educational activities.
"It leverages the children's natural curiosity in the environment around them to nurture their interests, develop their capabilities, and instill in them the desire to be future scientists, engineers and inventors," said Dr Najla Al Naqbi, Program Manager at Adec.
"Robotics is an effective learning tool, well-suited to benefit students with special needs, especially in teaching subjects like science and engineering. It also develops analytical and social skills that help students with special needs to integrate in the society," she added.
The process involves the use of Lego blocks, moving parts, engines, sensors, and many other pieces to build functioning miniature machines or robots. By hooking up the robots to computers and using proper software, the students learn how to program, operate and control robots actions, sounds and responses.
The training workshop is also designed to be environment friendly, as many of the projects are centered around the concept of renewable energy.
"Education's green city challenge sets out a number of missions that simulate real-life engineering problems," explained Al Naqbi.
"Students can generate and collect energy to power their models, recording their findings to make adjustments so they become more energy efficient," she added.
"Adec works closely with ZHO to develop the students with special needs skills in order to play an active role in our society," Al Naqbi concluded.
Eight teachers in ZHO centers in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain attended this seminar.
"It is beneficial for a teacher to understand how it feels to be a student, in order to identify areas for improvement," sadi Talal Kasem, a teacher at the Abu Dhabi Rehabilitation and Care Center.
"Robotics is a good way to focus on students' individual capabilities and help boost their self esteem and confidence," he added.
Basma Musamih, a teacher in Al Shumookh School in the Western Region took her first robotics course two years ago through an ADEC program, and is now a teacher trainer for the program.
"Robotics is a great math, science and engineering teaching tool. It develops problem-solving, teamwork, and personal skills," she said.
The teachers will use the training sessions to help the students in their school, and will also serve as mentors in the International World Robot Olympiad that will take place in Abu Dhabi in November 2011.