Educational Robotics for People with Disabilities
By KarelVan Isacker
Robots can provide a powerful
alternative learning method for
students with learning disabilities.
Utilising the multiple sensor arrays
available in modern robots, they can be
programmed to interact with students
in specific ways to encourage and
engage them in learning activities.
Certain students may find robots easier
to engage with and less threatening
than human trainers.
Robots can play a key role in enhancing
the informal learning most children
naturally develop as they play.
Special needs education
the practice of educating students with
intellectual disabilities in a way that
addresses their individual differences and
involves the individually planned and
systematically monitored arrangement of
equipment and materials design adapt to
help learners with special needs achieve a
higher level of personal self-sufficiency
and success in school and the community.
Offering meaningful and motivating contexts, such
as robotics, within science, technology, engineering
and math courses constitutes a compelling strategy
to enhance science and math learning for all
Science challenges e.g. collecting data with robot
sensors on the ambient light in a room;
Technology challenges e.g. programming a robot to
escape a cardboard city;
Engineering challenges e.g. constructing a robot to
move without wheels;
Mathematical challenges e.g. measuring wheel
circumferences and working out distances the robot
Educational Robotics for
People with Learning
Individual Education Plans include a child’s
classification, placement, services (such as a
one-on-one aid and therapies), academic and
behavioural goals, percentage of time in
regular education and progress reports from
teachers and therapists.
These plans are tailored specifically to the
child’s special needs – not to the needs of
the teacher, school or district.
Software was developed to allow a set of
adaptable learning tools, working with a
number of different types of robots to
allow educators to tailor learning for a
student’s Individual Education Plan.
Downloads available at
An educational robotics pedagogic
Learning with robotics curriculum and
Customised interfaces for robotic
Learning with robotics case studies
and case study analyses
Robotics In Schools
An Introduction to Programming
Learning to program a computer is an excellent skill to have to make
students more likely to get a job in the future, and earn more money
in their lifetime.
Robotics is a production-based learning module. Students have the
opportunity to create something tangible and make it perform the
actions that they program it to do.
Prepare them for the future
Jobs in the STEM field are the fastest growing careers, and are
projected to grow exponentially. E.g. the drone industry.
Teaching Children How toTurn Frustration into
Learning how to build and program a robot can be a complex and
difficult process. Robotics in schools can help students turn their
frustration into creativity and innovation.
Robotics is a field that is easily accessible to a wide range of students
with varying talents and skills.
Studies have shown robots do a great job of engaging students on
the autism spectrum.
Robotics is also a field that has the ability to empower young girls in
Taking It A Step
For Children -
Using Open Source
technology and hardware,
the price of applying this
course will be minimal,
while the benefits will be
Science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM)
education won’t realise its full potential unless we
address issues of resources, equity, and teacher
This projects aims at addressing these 3 elements by
training teachers how to introduce future life skills (3D
printing as an integral part of daily life, e.g. fixing coffee
machine component with 3D printed component) into
through an innovative modular yet condense training course
that will allow teachers to apply them in their STEM
(Science,Technology, Engineering en Mathematics) courses
Children will as such be prepared for the core 3D
aspects that will be crucial in their future jobs:
Basics of developing an own robot.
Algorithms and Programming: Scratch (It has
Programming a robot: Makeblock
educational-robot-kit (is compatible with Scratch).We
will use Scratch for programming robot, it can be
programmed by national language versions of scratch
3D Design: Fusion 360.We will teach design based on
robotics (gears, wheels, base for the robots, etc).
3D Scanning (for teachers to support the pupils with
their 3D design activities).We will use free/open source
software for scanning, e.g. Reprap.org Ciclop 3D Scanner
3D Print:We will use Prusa i3 printer
Design my own robot:After we finish the cycle we
will add 2-3 project based robots (like instructions)
Future Life skills (3D printing as an
integral part of daily life, e.g. fixing coffee
machine component with 3D printed
component, internet of things with
connected devices; coping with and
understanding new environments)
Technical, analytical and logical skills and
Prepare willingness to embed 3D
printing in a wider variety of
Motivation to mainstream 3D printing
Train the trainer handbook for
teachers, including specific training for
Training curriculum and course
material for pupils “early childhood
Online training platform with
instructions viaVideo Scribe
What is needed?
Train teachers who can bring robotics
directly to classrooms.
Teachers need to be confident with
using the technology, know the
content they want to teach, and the
pedagogical strategies needed to teach
the content with the technology.
Make it affordable.