Courses

Philosophy

The philosophy of using construction and implementation to reinforce theory permeates Professor Choset's courses. In Professor Choset's undergraduate robotics course, students use LEGO robotics labs, developed by Professor Choset and his students, to reinforce the rigorous and theoretical materials presented in class. Every two weeks, lecture material covers the underlying mathematics and algorithms and via construction of a programmable three-dimensional artifact, the lab experiences seriously motivate students to synthesize lessons, critically explore beyond them, and then think creatively with meta-lessons. Professor Choset termed this style of education as directed constructionism because it strikes a balance between conventional on-way lectures and modern constructionist approaches.


However, Professor Choset's long-term education goal is to bring this directed constructionist philosophy to the primary school levels. Robotics is a powerful vehicle to inspire and teach. Based on volunteer work with robotics contests FIRST and Botball, Professor Choset and his students have seen that robotics is an educational tool that dramatically elevates children's, interest in sciences and mathematics. A robot is a hook that induces curiosity and excitement. Once they see a robot in motion, both boys and girls, want to build their own robot. To do so, they must understand mathematics, science, and technology. The benefits of robotics in education, however, go well beyond the technical skills. These project-based experiences allow students to develop team building and inter-personal skills that jobs of the 21st Century will demand.