BRING THE EXCITEMENT OF LEARNING STEM AND CODING TO ALL STUDENTS WITH CYBER ROBOTIC TRAINING CAMPS: How Robotics Training Camps Can Help Engage Students and Get Them Interested in Technical Education and Careers

By Smith, Bon | Technology & Learning, April 2019 | Go to article overview

BRING THE EXCITEMENT OF LEARNING STEM AND CODING TO ALL STUDENTS WITH CYBER ROBOTIC TRAINING CAMPS: How Robotics Training Camps Can Help Engage Students and Get Them Interested in Technical Education and Careers


Smith, Bon, Technology & Learning


There's nothing quite like a robotics competition to get young minds interested in technical topics. Organized by the Intelitek STEM and CTE Education Foundation (ISCEF), Cyber Robotics Coding Competitions (CRCCs) engage students in STEM learning by using game-based competitions that are both safe and fun. Pennsylvania participated in this competition in the fall of 2018, and more than 6,000 students from over 100 middle schools spent eight weeks coding robots. Approximately 46 percent of students taking part were female, 46 percent of participating teachers were from rural districts, and 12 percent were from urban districts.

Challenged by limited time and money, K-12 school districts aren't always in the best position to set up onsite robotics and coding classes for their students. Activities like CRCC are valuable for introducing STEM, coding, and robotics to a broad cross section of students.

To overcome these challenges, a host of Pennsylvania schools are leveraging CoderZ, an online platform that's helped them bring the fascinating world of robots and coding to a greater number of students.

Here's how you can do it too:

Find an internal champion to lead the cause. To think beyond the basic K-12 curriculum and prepare students for today's work world, districts need a champion to get behind the cause. This person can be tasked with securing grants that can be used to hire robotics instructors that support teachers in robotics implementation, for example. An internal champion can recruit teachers and administrators to get more involved and make events like CRCC successful.

Offer professional development. In my school, students using CoderZ went on to compete in the Cyber Robotics Coding Competition (CRCC) finals. After the event, there was a great deal of positive feedback from all involved. Because the CRCC was so successful, students and teachers were inspired to want more, so Lincoln Intermediate Unit 12 developed PD programs to help teachers get on board, be more comfortable, and be more willing to take on the challenge of robotics and instruction, also developed PD programs around the online platform, using the same tool the students use to introduce teachers to the concepts and prepare them to teach the topic. …

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