With automation estimated to replace 35% of jobs in the future, schools need to equip students to stay a step ahead of robotics and AI.
The key to students being irreplaceable in the future is to instil them with problem-solving skills. One way to build these skills, suggests MindKits CEO Tim Carr, is to learn to program robots. The first jobs that look likely to be replaced by technology are skilled labour and dangerous roles such as firefighting. It's important for young people to develop skills that lead to careers less likely to be replaced, says Carr. “By introducing students to cognitive skills, we can impact their lives and steer them towards cognitive industries rather than routine manual industries that are more at risk.” Point Chevalier School Principal Stephen Lethbridge has been working with Mindkits using robotics, he says these skills are invaluable for the future. “Problem solving skills are no longer an ‘added bonus' to learn. They're essential in a future with increasing automation where all kids can benefit from learning to program a robot.” Working with the Edison programmable robot, students can use Lego and a simple programming language to build these cognitive problem-solving skills. Kristin School head of technology and design Andrew Churches says the robot works well in the classroom. “The Edison robot is a great little classroom tool. It's a medium for problem-solving skills. “Problem-solving and computational thinking are essential in our world of increasing automation.” With polls in the US revealing 46% of employees were in positions at risk of automation replacement, it's time to prepare students for the future. Robotics is an effective way to impart these skills and will hopefully ensure young people will be programming robots rather than losing jobs to them.