I was reading an article about plans to colonise Mars when I came across an explanation as to why it was necessary from former astronaut John Grunsfeld. He said, “single-planet species don’t survive”. This struck me as an extraordinary statement to make. OK, there were the dinosaurs, but how does he know that there aren’t other dinosaurs happily living on planets in far flung galaxies? It seemed such an un-scientific statement to make to explain the most scientific of explorations. I commented as such to Dave. He thought that it was more probably a mental modelling rather than fact based statement. Apparently much like Einstein. He got his “eureka moment” re the theory of relativity while sitting on a tram. He realised that if his tram pulled away from the Berne Town Hall Clock at faster than the speed of light the time on the clock would not change. He mentally modelled the situation. And from that tiny spark of understanding the theory of relativity was born. Now, we know how much the concrete experiences with Roamer help students develop their mental and mathematical modelling skills, so I reckon that’s 1 for Roamer.
In the same magazine I came across an article that was reporting some research into mathematical ability. Researchers have shown that people who are better at estimating are better at Maths. And I quote “…practising the art of estimating can improve people’s test scores when it comes to basic Maths.” We are all aware of just how useful Roamer is when it comes to practising and developing estimation skills. Now it has been shown that improving those skills also improves their basic Maths skills. That’s 2 for Roamer.
And finally I read an article that discussed how robots are being used to combat loneliness and psychological strain and help astronauts cope with the long-term isolation of space travel. I well remember the attachment I felt to Huey, Dewey and Louis, the robots in Silent Running. And I remember a teacher from Northern Ireland telling me about how she had come across a girl sitting in the corner with classic Roamer® and revealing abuse to the robot. This relationship can only be more powerful if you have a robot that talks to you as the new Roamer® does. And that is a full house for Roamer I think..