After teaching for over 25 years, Michele Miller stepped outside the traditional school system and started running Robokids. Here’s why.
It was 2009 and I was teaching a Gifted & Talented program in Sydney. I developed a few robotic modules for our students, and was amazed at the cross-curricula capacity of robotics and engagement of all the students! I simply thought “Wow! Every student should be exposed to this”. I saw how robotics could be an amazing medium for STEAM.
Principals and teachers outside our catchment area began to ask for the one-day immersion programs. In 2010, UTS Insearch Haymarket asked me to co-ordinate their robotics program. I bought my first kit of robots and laptops and spent four years dabbling in a program I named Robokids, developing the curricula.
In 2015 I left teaching to focus on Robokids full time. Now with a team of 11 we immerse over 12 000 students, 75 schools and children’s service centres in STEAM workshops from Preschool to Year 10.
Robokids’ vision is to ensure all Australian students engage in 21st Century learning to maximise their potential to create a better world. I believe it is essential we shift our students from being digital users to digital creators of technology. Our student’s future workspace will be automated, globalised and digitised. In 10 years it is estimated 75% of jobs will be automated and completed by robots, and two out of three that remain will be based on STEM skills.
It is our responsibility Australia’s first innovation generation is skilled in computational thinking. We need Australia where every young person leaves school with the innovation and technological skills that they need to thrive.
We must ensure:
– Those traditionally and currently underrepresented in STEM do not remain underrepresented;
– We capture girls as young as preschool in robotics education and problem-solving, enquiry-based learning so the current gender equity gap in STEM careers is minimised;
– Our teachers see themselves not just as teachers but optimisers of student learning, and we assist with increasing our teachers digital capacity
Robokids recently surveyed over 2000 students and found that:
– 70% of girls & 75% of boys from Kinder/Prep–Year 10 would choose robotics if it was an elective in their curriculum.
– Every student is engaged – 90 % said they would want to do the Robokids workshop again
We watch children’s confidence soar throughout the program, and we see students shift from digital users to digital creators. Students love to choose what they learn! When you enable students to create and innovate, amazing things happen.
If you’re a teacher out there who’s looking to inspire kids in STEM, get started! Collect a team of passionate teachers who are prepared to work along side of you.
Find out more about getting involved in Robokids here.
– Michele Miller
“When you enable students to create and innovate, amazing things happen.”
Author: STEM Contributor
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