Professor creator of Kipi, a robot who speaks Quechua: “Science should be taught by science” | Technique


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Millions of Peruvian students have taken virtual lessons since the pandemic COVID-19 They were forced to close schools. This situation is beginning to affect their learning, according to experts, exacerbating problems already plaguing the Peruvian education system.

Look: Kipi, a robot created in Vraem who speaks the Quechua language with schoolchildren from Huancavelica

But there are some teachers who, despite the limitations, She designed alternatives to help her students in this context. One of them is Professor Walter Velasquez, creator of Kipi, a robot that helps minors in the learning process and is also able to speak to them in their native Quechua language.

El Comercio visited his laboratory located at the Santiago Antúnez de Mayolo School, in Colcambamba, Huancavelica. There Kibe designed during the early days of the epidemic.

“In schools, we should start doing science, start designing, start researching a little bit more,” The famous rural teacher who, among other certificates of appreciation, has been awarded the Palmas Magisteriales from the Ministry of Education tells us.

Professor Walter Velasquez and two of his students attend outdoor classes with Kipi.  (Photo: Yerson Kolav)
Professor Walter Velasquez and two of his students attend outdoor classes with Kipi. (Photo: Yerson Kolav)

Before Kipi, did you actually develop a bot?

My students above all. They have won national and international robotics championships. This bottom model [señala un estante de su laboratorio] It was to Mexico. This is a machine that helps improve the way chuño is made. It was a highly valued prototype by the University of Guadalajara. Another robot made by my students, considered the best in the area, is A vehicle that can be used in earthquake; If there are people trapped, get into the cart, take 10 photos and send them to the cell phone.

I see you have a lot of prototypes in your lab.

Here are some prototypes for me, others for my students. But I’ve always seen it Almost everything created in Peru is still in prototypes. In Peru we’re good at prototyping, but we’re not getting into the actual implementation. There are good ideas, but I think we have a lot to do, which is why we took the risk with Kipi, who is no longer a prototype and works in the “playground” to help people. The pandemic has prompted us to do so.

How did your taste in science and technology begin? At what stage of your childhood or adolescence?

I have a picture when I was little… At 3 I made my first robot, I didn’t realize it. We built it with my dad, and it’s pictured. But I think the main thing is that my mother instilled the most supportive work and my father the most creative work. My mom was a librarian for 30 years; I’ve always been in schools helping hand out books, collecting books, and cleaning up the library room. My father is a math teacher now I’ve always liked to build things for his studentsSo I was always on the side to help him out. So this has a lot to do with it. Later, already in high school, the teacher completes it: He assigned me the task of investigating a tumbo [un fruto nativo del centro del Perú] And I converted it to what I found. So someone’s methodology makes you think, doesn’t give you everything as you search for information, I liked it. I even went to the doctor at the post office to ask, I looked for other people … So I participated in science fairs, well,And I realized that the profession I referred to was related to science, In this case to teach them. I studied at Universidad del Centro, then majored in technology at the University of Nebrija, Spain, and now I finish one at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), in the United States and there is everything to solve problems, cases…

Perhaps the problem in the country is that science and technology teaching at school is too theoretical.

Science teaching is certainly very theoretical. A must read, of course, but the science goes further than that. Science must be taught and studied through the practice of science. For example, here we have a botanical garden where we investigate and develop experimental situations. Matter transformation systems are taught, for example, the extraction of oils, essences, distillates … and this is much more interesting. I think it goes there. We are in schools We have to start science, start designing, start digging a little more.

“A student can achieve great things. It is not necessarily where you are born or how much money you have, but the teacher must support him and so does the state.”

Professor Walter Velasquez displays some of the prototypes found in his lab.  (Photo: Yerson Kolav)
Professor Walter Velasquez displays some of the prototypes found in his lab. (Photo: Yerson Kolav)

How difficult is it to implement this in every school? It’s kind of ambitious now, isn’t it?

Like I told you: let’s cook, but there is no kitchen gadget. Even if you had the will, you wouldn’t. I think it is necessary to schools in Peru Implementation of laboratories for the advancement of science, Technologies, from school levels. There is no budget for the development of science and technology, no school that receives the sun. There are teachers who do the same. The Ministry of Education is sending us toolkits and modules, but I think we should strengthen them much more. It would be a great idea for teachers in Peru to introduce their creativity; I know some who have done a lotAnd we should use this knowledge bank. Science is not only useful for careers in biology or chemistry, the method of investigation helps us in history, literature, etc.

Because it arouses children’s natural curiosity.

It’s for training kids, it doesn’t mean everyone will go to NASA, they probably will, but if they learn this method, they can apply it in their future jobs or activities. This needs to be cultivated from early childhood, it is already a bit difficult at 20, 30 to 40 years. This was one of the challenges when I came to teach here. I have found students with low economic resources or living in extreme poverty. Since we started working in this lab in 2009, we’ve done very good things: we have physics winners, we’ve chemistry champions, and they’ve even gone abroad. This allows me to say it A student can achieve great things, Where you were born or how much money you have is not necessarily a restriction, but the teacher must give you support as well as the state. This is the value of pedagogy.

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