Boy Scouts to Unveil Merit Badge for Robotics



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If you can get a badge for learning all kinds of stupid knots that you will never use,  why not one for the geeks using the old noggin'? While robotics probably won't help you in any kind of survival scenario, the kind of creative thinking that learning this stuff teaches can't hurt.



Well, this is really cool.  I was a Boy Scout and a lot of merit badges were fun for the simple fact that they introduced me to stuff you just don't learn sitting in front of the TV (if you can learn anything in front of the TV) or in school.  It is also good to see the Boy Scouts keeping up with technology.

As for I Jedi, the purpose of a merit badge is to broaden your horizons, not prepare you for your chosen career.  It is up to the district to select individuals who are qualified to assist the boys.  Often all you need is the merit badge book and a technically minded adult to assist you.

As for robotics, I remember being in 7th grade and, in upstate New York, getting an introduction to robotics as part of a class called Technology (which was the old Shop class, doing the usual ceramic, wood, metal, plastic, but with drafting and now robotics added in).  After that introduction, the teacher showed us the new robot he'd just gotten in and that it would be part of next year's curriculum.  I was so excited.

Then we moved to Illinois over the summer (Dad's job change.)  No Technology class.  No robotics.  There was a shop class, but it was all wood working, and agriculture, with the highlight of the year being neutering pigs.  Thankfully they had a full time drafting class, which gave me something to do.

Missing out on a New York State public education put me back a good 10 years.  It has been a constant struggle to catch up.


I Jedi

This is a pretty useless badge, in my opinion. If the goal is to teach about robotics, I don't see how the majority of Cub Scout leaders can teach kids about robots, much less the programming of them. I use to be in the Boy Scouts, and I can tell you that the majority of adults that supervised us didn't know squat about computers in general. Most of them were automotive workers, doctors, etc, not computer technicians and robotics engineers.

If you really want them to gain the skills they will need to succeed in the computer age, they should learn how to do basic troubleshooting of a computer and installation of hardware. It is a good skill to have because everyone owns a computer, and finding someone to teach such a subject is becoming more prevalent. I don't know anybody personally who owns a robot with myself included. Fascinating subject, to be assured, just not relevant to what kids need for the computer age, yet. Give it about 20 years.



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While you may have been a Boy Scout at one time, your memory must be slipping because you don't understand how the merit badge program works. As an Eagle Scout myself and a Scoutmaster I can tell you the following is how it works.

First off, merit badges are part of Boy Scouts, not the Cub Scouts program. This means the kids taking this merit badge will be older and more mature. Second off, not just random leaders teach merit badges. Those with the qualifications to teach the merit badge apply to your local council and are put on a calling list for the Scouts to call and arrange a times to meet for the merit badge.

As far as your statements about basic computer troubleshooting, you perfectly described the computer merit badge which has been around for some time now.

And as far as people not owning robots, I actually now a lot of kids who do own robots. I have seen kids as young as 8 with robots. Lego makes an amazing set called Mindstorms NXT.

I personally think that this is an awesome merit badge to have in the BSA. One of the merit badges primary functions are to allow kids to learn about many different things and allow the kids to try things that the may be interested in doing as a job one day.



+1 !!

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