The emerging robotics craze in the American educational system has now established itself in Wiesbaden, Germany, where children of U.S. military members are attending high school.
As the students' summer break came to an end, an important educational initiative was reaching its finale as well. Over the mid-year recess, more than 40 students from Wiesbaden High School were engaged in a long-awaited engineering summer camp that culminated in an engaging robotics competition.
"We talked about doing this for a number of years," noted camp director, Frank Pendzich, in a statement released by the Army. "[We focused upon] giving a broader range of students an opportunity to learn more about science, technology, math and engineering."
Pendzich had prior experience with robotics competitions but decided to approach this program with a somewhat unique strategy. The Wiesbaden summer program was focused on a more holistic mode of thought expected to develop creative problem solving skills that will serve students well in a variety of pursuits.
Instead of starting the program with discussion and memorization of technically challenging scientific principles, the camp began with team-building activities and abstract problem-solving exercises.
"The world needs more people who know how to problem solve – people with different ideas," said camp volunteer, Casey Mann. "As future engineers, we have to have the mindset that there's more than one solution."
According to Stars and Stripes, the Department of Defense Education Activity is looking to make good on President Obama's promise to redouble efforts in American science, technology, engineering and mathematics education. The Wiesbaden robotics club is just one success story from the DODEA school system.
As part of a new pilot program, the agency will offer at least one class in robotics engineering, biotechnology, engineering, gaming technology or green technology in 11 of its schools across the United States, Europe and the Pacific, according to the source. School administrators have already invested more than $1 million in the development of the curriculum and intend to keep it standardized across all DODEA campuses. If deemed successful, organizers are optimistic that the program can be extended to more schools in the near future.
By providing hands-on, engaging outlets for STEM learning, educators are doing much more than simply ensuring students will be able to find jobs after graduation. These dedicated teachers are ensuring the next generation of robotics engineers will be equipped to solve previously unimaginable challenges and lead the nation into a new era of innovation.