“My robot is going to help someone.” – Tony A.

T
hat was the response of one of our students when his Mother asked him, “How was the first day?” Since our programming starts in the real-world, questions like – “Why am I doing this?” “How is this relevant?” aren’t part of the conversation.  By creating authentic learning experiences students arrive to class early and don’t want to leave when it’s over.

That said, such environments are taxing on the instructors.  There is no lesson plan for designing a robot that helps train the blind to play goalball (a team sport designed specifically for blind athletes).  In many cases, the instructors are learning and debugging along with the students.  This is a new concept for students who expect answers to be readily available. However, if you can get the ratio of students to teachers down 2:1 or 1:1 – a dynamic learning environment is created.  The learning and excitement is off the charts.

Our just completed pilot Robots and Society “How Might We Use Robotics to Extend the Capabilities of the Disabled?” was awesome.  For two solid weeks, students worked extremely hard designing projects that will NOT be forgotten anytime soon.

  • iGuidance | Robotic Seeing Eye Dog
  • Robotic Leg to Speed up Recovery from Sports Injury
  • Performance Trainer for Goalball (team sport designed specifically for blind athletes)
  • Vibrating Watch Baby Monitor for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Seeing Stick (obstacle detector)
  • Robotic assistant

These projects can be expanded upon year after year and that’s exactly our plan.  We want our students to return each summer to build on or go in completely different directions. It really doesn’t matter as long as they are creating.  People who can create innovative solutions will always be in demand.  The success divide highlighted in the Boston Globe article “Area 4 Residents of Cambridge Live in the Shadows of the Future” will have a few less people on the wrong side if we are successful.

—-

innovators4purpose mission is to identify high potential youth, especially those from less-served areas, develop their skills and identity as innovators. Youth participating in our programs transition from mindsets centered around consumption to makers and doers. This paves a way for youth to fully participate in our innovation driven economy – ensuring the composition of the STEM education pipeline reflects America’s shifting demographics.

We need your help connecting with visionaries – individuals, corporations, foundations willing to invest, so that together we can continue identifying and cultivating untapped sources of innovation.

The following two tabs change content below.

Michael K. Dawson

Co-Founder, Chief Doer, Innovators For Purpose, Inc. Creative Doing - the act of changing or influencing with the intent of leaving a mark on the world...