COSAM News Articles 2022 June SCORE Robotics Institute trains teachers in robotics, provides valuable professional development opportunity

SCORE Robotics Institute trains teachers in robotics, provides valuable professional development opportunity

Published: 06/06/2022

By: Leslie Leak

The Southeastern Center of Robotics Education, or SCORE, kicked off its two-week Robotics Institute on May 31, giving K-12 teachers an extended, hands-on professional development opportunity to learn about various robotics platforms.

Held at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum, participants at the institute learn about various robotic platforms, basic coding and lesson plans to integrate robotics into the classroom. Attendees can participate in the entire institute or choose specific days of training based on their preferred area of focus. Trainings are broken down daily into different robotics platforms, with this year’s sessions covering Dash, Dot, Cue, VEX 123, Edison, VEX GO (Classroom and Competition), Vex IQ Classroom, Sphero Bolt and RVR, Firia Codebot, Micro:bit, Makey Makey and Raspberry Pi. The institute is designed for classroom teachers, computer science teachers, media specialists, administration or anyone interested in learning how to integrate robotics into the classroom.

In one session, led by SCORE Assistant Director Jennifer Spencer, teachers from Elmore, Russell and Lee counties learned how to use VEX 123—an introductory robot for younger elementary students and English language learners that uses touch to control movements and sounds and reinforces sequencing, logic and problem-solving skills. After learning the basics, teachers navigated robots through mazes along field paths and used their artistic abilities and the VEX 123 Art Ring to transform robots into swimming fish in the “tank” or robot field.

In the session, Spencer showed participants how to manage classroom robot sets through the VEX 123 app and provided links to VEX 123 STEM Labs that offer ready to use lesson plans.

Merri Lynn Gregory, STEM teacher at Beulah Elementary School, plans to utilize the VEX 123 app during classroom robotics instruction. “I have a set of VEX 123 robots in my classroom, but I had no idea there was an app to help me manage the devices! My students enjoy using this robot, and they get so excited once they figure out a coding sequence,” said Gregory.

Another session, led by SCORE Program Administrator Matt Buckley, introduced Edison—a durable, ready-to-use robot that reads simple barcode programs. Buckley explained that students can progress through three different programming languages with Edison—EdBlocks, EdScratch and EdPy—and gave participants a hands-on opportunity to program Edison in each language using online demos.

Drawing on real classroom experiences, Buckley and participants shared tips on teaching robotics and discussed the value in having students work through the creative and critical thinking process towards a solution—one of the many benefits of robotics instruction.

Participants who complete training at the Robotics Institute are eligible to check out robotics sets from SCORE’s newly established Simon-Knowles Innovative Learning Library, or SKILL. SKILL is currently available to the 15 school districts that fall under the East Alabama Regional Inservice Center.

SCORE is an Auburn University outreach initiative in the College of Sciences and Mathematics, or COSAM, designed to help effectively develop and deliver robotics education to K-12 students and teachers. For more information on SCORE or the Robotics Institute, contact Spencer at jennifer.spencer@auburn.edu.

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