Robotics Education

A Blog for my independent study in robotics education. I will post frequently, as all work I write here will be handed in and graded.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

A Disappointing Showing

The workshop last Thursday did not go as well as expected. The entire problem—and I’m not sure whose fault it is—was the lack of participating students. The previous week, where we had five kids (a small but interested group), we were promised that more would show up the following week. Both the teacher attending the workshop and the program coordinator indicated that those who had attended would bring more of their friends along with them, and we would have perhaps as many as fifteen.

This, however, is not what happened. The workshop this last time consisted of only two children, only one of which had come the previous week. He was certainly enthusiastic about the robots, but he is quite young—a seventh grader. I have no problem including him in the activity, but I was expecting an overall older age group. The other student is a sixth grader, and obviously had little interest in learning anything about the robots; he had come only for the snacks. I feel confident in this conclusion, as the only time he did not have a bored or impatient attitude was when the teacher offered him a snack bar.

I understand the reasoning behind encouraging after school activities with snacks, but if the student is simply unable to generate interest in the activity (and I don’t believe I should have to work too hard towards garnering it), then perhaps it would be more prudent to place him in a sports program. I came to run a workshop in robotics for high school students, not baby sit a rambunctious sixth grader.

I think that if the school is interested in having me run more workshops, the administration needs to do more advertising. 8½ by 11 inch sheets hung intermittently through the hallway seem to have had little effect; teachers must announce the programs offered after school in the classroom where their attention is undivided.

I am still looking forward to running the next workshop, but I hope sincerely that there are more students this next time.

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