Currently, society and companies require information and communication technology professionals. Therefore, education systems face a significant challenge in digital literacy and computational thinking, which includes programming and robotics knowledge.
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One of the best-known definitions of computational thinking is that of Jeannette Wing, an engineer, theorist, computer science educator, and former corporate vice president of Microsoft Research.
According to Wing “computational thinking consists of problem-solving, system design, and understanding human behavior by using the fundamental concepts of computer science” (2006, as cited in Zapata, 2015). Furthermore, he states that these skills are not specific to computer scientists, but should be for everyone.
In light of the foregoing, computational thinking and its incorporation into school curricula have gained importance in recent years because they help students develop skills like creativity and problem-solving.
Additionally, the PISA exams now cover computational thinking. In response, the OECD stated that “it is not enough to be able to use technology, but it is necessary to develop skills to create, understand, and manage it.”
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Computational thinking allows thinking with sequential and algorithmic logic. At CloudLabs, students are immersed in a virtual environment that promotes progressive, didactic, and analytical learning through the different functions and tools available so that they develop useful skills for today’s digitally driven world.
Programming has gained importance as a result of the systematization of tasks and information management. Nowadays, when more processes rely on computer and digital systems, adapting computers and electronic devices to a particular function is a fundamental task.
Implementing programming classes allows the development of logical thinking, spatial analysis, and the capacity for self-perception (García, 2015). Likewise, it motivates the student to create innovative artifacts.
Grafcet programming is a block programming where each block has a function, an input, and an output, which allows it to be sequential. In CloudLabs, students will be able to program algorithms in the Grafcet graphical language, a control diagram with stages and transitions for programmable logic controllers. The programmer allows, among other things, to create, delete, and edit stages, as well as save and open programming files with the extension.
The above allows them to develop sequential thinking skills as CloudLabs simulator programming promotes reasoning and inquiry through solving challenges posed in real-world situations.
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Robotics is known as the technology of making and understanding robots. To do this, you need to have a certain level of knowledge in different areas that allow the design, construction, assembly, and operation of a specific robot. Educational robotics can be defined in four steps: imagine, design, build, and program.
Nowadays, robotics is considered a key educational tool in the development of technical and social competencies (Muñoz, 2019). Through the design and construction of prototypes, students are able to reach this level of learning and translate abstract concepts into real-world applications.
In our virtual learning environment, students can develop technological and scientific competencies through various robotics practices in three-dimensional environments with polar robotic arms, five-axis arms, and in-line trackers.
The robots can be programmed in block-graphic language to perform tasks of manipulation, control, storage, and transfer of parts. A real adventure in a real context!