Robotics are becoming a key resource used in classrooms from K-12. No longer is this subject area limited to just Stage 4 students, as the new curriculum allows its integration into numerous teaching and learning activities in all stages. Using robotics is more than just simply building a moving toy. Using robotics permits data computation which means that students can use coding techniques to get the robot to move. This develops student higher order thinking skills as well as their critical and creative thinking skills. But how does a teacher who has never used robotics before get started?

The best feature about the latest robotics tools is that they can be used on any technological platform that you already use in your school. This means if you are an iPad school or a PC or Mac school, the majority of robotics kits will be compatible and work with the technology that you already have. 
More importantly, robotics supports 21st century learning as it promotes active, self-directed, goal orientated, authentic and interest driven learning. It supports collaborative learning spaces that are agile and student centered which encourages students to challenge one another as well as value independence.

Which robot should we use?
There are a plethora of robots on the market today. Ranging from the traditional NXT models to spheros to drones, there are many types of robots that you can select for students to use. In order to determine the best robot for your class, it is best to ascertain the learning outcomes that you wish to attain and then determine which robot is most appropriate. 
However, teachers must realise that these kits can be costly and it may not be financially feasible to invest in all types of robots. Some robotics kits for 30 students could cost more than $1000. So, it is important to remember that there are a range of kits available and the most advanced (and expensive) robotics kits don’t necessarily need to be purchased. 

What do I need to consider when buying a robotics kit?
Conversations need to be had regarding the storage of the robotics kits. Where will they be kept when not in use, who will complete the inventory before and after they’re used and what will the school process be to check them in and out of a class? Although basic considerations, it is essential that this is worked out prior to its first use and some kits have very tiny pieces and without proper inventory control, you could be replacing robotics pieces very early into your investment.
Staff development is always a key consideration when introducing something new into a school. It is imperative that all staff feel safe and confident using the new robotics kits and are given a platform to gather and share their ideas of how they will use the robots in their classrooms. 
It is also a great way to ensure that all staff understand the curriculum and remember how to make quality teaching links with lesson outcomes.

More importantly, remember to have fun. It is OK if your students know more than you and you are allowed to learn with your students. Document your fun and share with your colleagues.