Thursday, August 1, 2013

And so it begins...

At first, we are going to start slowly with the programming, both to get our feet wet, and to gauge the interest from the community.

So you know: none of us here have any idea what we're doing. We're a small operation to begin with (6 total staff), and all of us have backgrounds in the Liberal Arts. As a matter of fact, most of us actively and joyously ignored STEAM subjects in all levels of education. However, all of the staff is extremely excited about the program, and is willing to learn.

Fortunately for us, we will have lots of help. Already, members of the community have been coming out of the woodwork to help with the program - an engineer, a Computer Science professor, a former computer programmer, a high school math teacher. In addition, we have the pledged support of the Engineering Department at the local university - they will be encouraging their students in Electrical, Mechanical and Computer Engineering to volunteer their time and talents as mentors and assistants.

To begin, we will be offering a weekly "LEGO Robotics Club," (or some more catchy name - any ideas?). For the first few weeks, there will be demonstrations of the capabilities of EV3 and WeDo, as well as hands-on training and experimentation. As the group gains confidence, we will transition to a more structured program, following some of the STEM curriculum that comes with the kits, and offering the kids a chance to complete challenges and continue to build upon their prior knowledge.

In the future, we can see a number of paths this can take. We already have offers to teach various programming languages to kids who are interested. There is the possibility (probability!) of holding a Mindstorms competition, much like what Ann Arbor District Library has done with their Library LEGO League. There is also talk of creating a FIRST LEGO League team sponsored by the library. Time and experience will tell where we will go next!

Stay tuned, our unboxing, set-up, and most likely hilarious fail-filled first testing will be here soon!

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