Courtesy - Natacha Rousseau Nao the classroom robot.

Robotics and artificial intelligence will be included into the English Montreal School Board (EMSB) regular daily curriculum. With Kindergarten and Elementary School Registration Week approaching, the Board hope to entice parents by offering their children better preparation for an ever-changing world.

We need to change the way we educate our students. We need to prepare them to be equipped with the skill sets to take on the challenges of tomorrow that we cannot even imagine, » explains EMSB Chairman Angela Mancini.

Part of the five different new programs unveiled on January 26 at Merton Elementary School is the Co-Space Robot Educational platform, a first of its kind in Canada. Already used in 20 countries, it integrates IT and digital game-based learning with robots to help students develop their computer programming and coding skills.

The wide use of Nao (pronounced as now), a humanoid robot designed to support students with special needs, will help get a better understanding of how much of an impact robot education can have on these students.

The EMSB will also continue to increase the implementation of the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) initiatives. In January of last year, only two elementary schools were piloting the program. It has now expanded to 15 schools.

Outside the classroom

As Montreal will host the RoboCup International Competition and Symposium in June, EMSB RoboCupJunior Quebec students who qualify will take part at the event as they have since 2001.

Partnerships with Ubisoft CODEX will use video games as a motivational learning tool. Youth Fusion, in place for next school year,will focus on experiential learning through projects in robotics, video game creation and entrepreneurship in the classroom.

The EMSB believes these additions will help students understand and manage future technology as well as learn the skills needed for careers in the digital world. Montreal has become a hub for tech according to the Board, and the growth of the industry will lead to jobs for those who are ready.

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