SCORE holds annual robotics conference in virtual format
The Southeastern Center of Robotics Education (SCORE) at Auburn University hosted their annual Educational Robotics Conference in virtual format to continue providing support for teachers during this challenging time for educators.
“We knew in July that a face-to-face conference would not be possible,” said Jennifer Spencer, assistant director for SCORE. “We worked hard to convert it to a virtual format so teachers who could not travel or find substitutes could still participate.”
The Southern Educational Robotics Conference (SERC) 2020 had over 225 educators from 16 states in attendance and offered 44 different sessions on multiple robotic platforms. Session topics included: how to build a sustainable robotics ecosystem in your community; hosting summer robotics camps; using Spheros to teach Geometry; fly drones into your curriculum; and many more. Teachers learned about VEX and BEST Robotics, Spheros, Ozobots, Micro:bit, Dash and Dot, Drones, Raspberry Pi, MATE ROV and Sea Perch. Going virtual provided an opportunity for teachers who would not typically make the trip to Auburn for the conference to participate from their home state. In addition, all conference sessions are available to registrants until March, giving ample time for teachers to continue learning from a variety of experts in educational robotics.
SERC 2020 also provided the opportunity for SCORE to invite guest plenary speakers to encourage, inspire and support teachers. Dr. Allen Landers, Physics Department Chair from Auburn University, Dr. Chris Crawford, Associate Professor of Computer Science from the University of Alabama, Ruby Pontbriand, the Robotics Education & Competition Foundation Marketing Manager and Girl Powered Initiative Lead, and Emily Renuart, Principal Customer Experience Engineer at Intuitive, gave motivating talks about including underrepresented populations in robotics, increasing student exposure to robotics and commending teachers for what they are doing every day in the classroom. Teacher Conrad Sparnroft from Syracuse, New York said “it was nothing short of inspirational!”
“The success of SERC 2020 was yet another shining example of how the program specialists and educators in COSAM’s Outreach division have continued to modify our programming formats to better serve the citizens of Alabama and beyond,” said Mary Lou Ewald, Director of COSAM Outreach. “I’m particularly grateful to our sponsors - Firia Labs, the Robotics Education and Competition Foundation, VEX Robotics, CoderZ, Dauphin Island Sea Lab, Project Lead The Way, Van Robotics and Learning Labs. Without their support this conference would not have been possible.”