Robotics on the curriculum in Queensland libraries

By February, 2016 Education, ICT, Local, State
The Queensland government has allocated $200,000 to enable public libraries to help students learn about robotics and coding.

A $200,000 funding allocation to help public libraries teach robotics and coding. Image: Chris Isherwood

If futurists like Professor Stephen Hawking or Dr Amnon Eden have a clear and accurate view of what’s ahead, our race is doomed if machines become self-aware in a Terminator-like frenzy and decide to wipe out humanity.

But not everyone shares that pessimistic view, while the Queensland government is presently setting up a program that will enable people to become more literate at what makes up the vital components of a working, operational droid.

It might not be as advanced as a Data or a C-3PO in the near future, but it’s a goal set by the Annastacia Palaszczuk government to give public libraries a major boost in the technology department by helping locals learn crucial skills in coding and robotics.

While libraries are usually known for their wide range of literature available to students and public, they are also a harbinger of knowledge in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

STEM has attracted some expert attention with an alarming message that young people are becoming less interested in these subjects, resulting in high demand in workplaces for people with STEM skills, but they are becoming low in supply.

But now Queensland’s Minister for Innovation Leeanne Enoch announced funding of $200,000 to public libraries and Indigenous Knowledge Centres to support coding and robotics demonstrations and education sessions.

“Our world is changing more rapidly than at any other time in history,” Ms Enoch said.

She said the influence of technology is spreading to every aspect of our lives and the jobs that we know today will be very different in the future.

“Helping people, especially our children, learn skills in coding and robotics is crucial to Queensland’s future prosperity and this is a key platform of the Advancing Education plan and curriculum in our schools,” Ms Enoch said.

She said learning to code and applying it to real world issues will help children become critical thinkers and problem solvers, creating innovators and entrepreneurs who can address any challenge.

According to Ms Enoch, this funding will enable libraries to provide informal and fun ways for Queenslanders to develop coding and robotics skills needed for the “digital creators and innovators of tomorrow”.

Acting State Librarian Sonia Cooper said public libraries were constantly evolving to meet the changing needs of the diverse communities and visitors they serve, and the introduction of coding and robotics activities would help bring digital literacy, and inclusion, to more Queenslanders.

“Coding and robotics activities held by SLQ over the school holidays in 2015 were very popular, with many sessions sold out,” Mrs Cooper said.

Ms Enoch said coding and robotics activities in libraries would support initiatives by Queensland schools to develop greater digital literacy, helping prepare our children for the knowledge economy of the future.

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