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College of Education reboots use of robots

Office of Communications & Marketing | Northeastern State University
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. -- The concept of using robots in a classroom may seem somewhat surreal to some, but it is something that is gaining both attention and merit at Northeastern State University’s College of Education.

The College of Education first introduced the robotics program in November 2012, classes began in January 2013 and by Feb. 2, 2013 the NSU robotics team, named the Edubots had qualified for nationals during the VEX Robotic Regional held at Sequoyah High School and hosted by the Cherokee Nation.

Robotics Technology in Education actually began a pilot robotics initiative in the fall of 2013. A lab was created on the NSU-Tahlequah campus, with the plan to expand to NSU-Broken Arrow after the pilot semester.

Students who took the Technology in Education class were able to experience a robotics unit where critical thinking, problem solving, teamwork and leadership are fostered. According to feedback from these students, they indicated that they felt better prepared to facilitate these same skills in their P – 12 students.

The robotics program is structured to fit into the Immersive Learning initiative set forth by the COE. Immersive learning experiences facilitate real-world approaches, require learners to synthesize knowledge and skill, and connect students to career and employment opportunities. In this environment, students demonstrate their mastery of learning objectives and direct skills set in direct and meaningful ways; thus teaching NSU students to make a difference far beyond the classroom.

The Edubots, which included Tandy Morris of Westville, Savanna Atchison of Afton, Megan Bloom of Cushing and Laura Myers of Wilburton, competed in the 2013 VEX Robotics College Challenge World Championship on April 15-21 in Anaheim, Calif., and finished 44th in the 52-team field while also earning the Judges’ Trophy.

At the world championships, the Edubots were the only qualifiers from a college of education, the only all-female team and they were one of the smallest teams to compete. Other teams competing were from science and engineering colleges and programs and had anywhere from eight to 20 members.

NSU competed against teams from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Purdue, Michigan State and the New York Institute of Technology. There were also teams from Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Spain, Malaysia and the United Kingdom.

Dr. Renee Cambiano, Department Chair of Educational Foundations and Leadership and Barbara Fuller, Coordinator of Instructional Technology served as faculty advisers to the Edubots.

The COE curriculum permits ample opportunity for teacher candidates to apply robotics to the education of students.

For more information regarding robotics in education, contact the COE at 918.444.3700.

Published: 3/27/2014 1:15:34 PM

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