Robotics offers learning careers that don’t exist

Robots and automation will become the dominant force in the global economy, which is why robotics education should be added as a curriculum in schools.

The digital medium has established itself as the primary communication medium. Digital technologies have opened access to a universe of information. For good or bad, like it or not, everything is getting automated, which presents a new issue for education, since many of the traditional areas of education will either be woefully lacking or altogether obsolete in the job market of 2025 and beyond.

It is estimated that 80 percent of the jobs that will exist in 2025 do not exist today. By 2025, many of the most modern technologies we have today will be replaced by technologies yet to be invented.

Consider the implications of those projections as they relate to a chronically underfunded U.S. education. Funding is only going to be a minor problem compared to developing an effective curriculum to adequately educate the future workforce.

Since 2025 is not that far off — the Class of 2025 is in fourth grade — schools must educate students for jobs that have not been created yet through “fundamental competencies” — basic concepts of collaboration, communication, metric building, critical analysis, problem solving and the scientific method.

There are some possible strategies, and many schools in this region and across the country are heading in the right direction. Only the support of the local taxpayers will allow the momentum to continue.

Career technical education (CTE), enhanced to educate students in new technologies and fundamental competencies, is one strategy. Automation involves programming and software as well as hands-on skills in mechanics and hardware.

This is yet another reason why regional taxpayers need to approve the Copper Country Intermediate School District’s proposed 1-mill tax for CTE.

Robotics education is another strategy in which students develop all the fundamental competencies that will be required of all workers within the next decade. Nobody knows what the jobs will be then, but through disciplines like robotics, students develop the skills that will be needed to do them.

A growing number of Copper Country high school teams competed this spring in regional, state and in the case of the Ontonagon Schools District, world robotics competitions. This trend needs to continue. Competitive robotics is something every school district should consider, both to offer students quality education in an extracurricular setting and prepare them for their future careers, which do not exist yet.

A Daily Mining Gazette editorial