A few days ago we finalized another amazing round of cyber robotics coding competitions, together with Yaskawa, Intelitek, Oracle Academy and the ISCEF Foundation we got to a number of states to show the world that anyone can learn how to program a robot, and that robotics are not only accessible, but also engaging and fun.
Going to participate in these robotics competitions we organize has always been a huge pleasure and inspiration for the entire CoderZ team. It is there where we can actually see the amazing learning platform we are creating and optimizing every day. It is in these challenging and fun events where we get feedback from teachers and students to see which areas we can improve, and which others we need to strengthen.
The CRCC events are exciting for a number of reasons. Students get to participate in teams, they complete gamified missions they never thought they were going to complete, and they represent their schools in a competition that includes many other schools from the same district or state. Seeing the kids enjoy their STEM experience it is just amazing!
To better describe our feeling, as a team, we decided to interview Mrs. Dorin Shani. Dorin is the Product Innovation Jedi of CoderZ, and together with Mr. Mohammad Qashua, one of our best ever programmers, they travelled to the latest CRCC competitions and joined the thousand of students who became robot programmers without even expecting it. Want to see what Dorin had to say? Make yourself comfortable and enjoy this short, intimate interview she gave to the CoderZ Blog.
“The ultimate STEM experience: Kids just love learning with cyber robots”
– Dorin, how do you feel in the competitions? What is the first thing you feel when entering the room of the finals?
“After traveling for so many hours, where there is almost no strength to do anything, the one thing I need to do is to see the faces of the kids. It is then when I forget about everything! It fulfils me with energy. It is just amazing to see young kids solving problems that some engineers cannot solve!”
– Do you think robotics is a good way for kids to learn STEM and to develop 21st century skills?
“Yes. Kids love CoderZ. They just love getting new gamified missions during the competitions (and in the classroom). It is breathtaking to witness how 9 year old kids are solving very hard problems… robotics problems! (…)” and she continues: “(…) I’m sure we’re taking education to a higher level. We’re actually contributing to society by training brains that will solve 21st century problems”
A new role for the teacher: Mentors and guides are welcome!
– Dorin, what do you think is the role of the teacher in the CRCC events and when teaching with CoderZ?
“Well… it is great to see them (the kids) work really hard in teams, but at the same team, to work independently. What I mean is that the teachers become more of a “guide” than a “dictator”. Their interaction process with students is amazing.”
– How do you think they succeed in this new “guide” role?
“Teachers create a real social interaction with their students, and instead of forcing them to do something, they suggest. For example, at one point in the latest competition I saw a teacher say to a student something like ‘… I know it is hard. But if is too hard, just divide in parts, and solve it one step at a time’, seeing that opened my eyes to a new, extraordinary reality in the classroom”
– Do you think CoderZ helps teachers to become “mentors”?
“Indeed. This new ‘guide’ role speaks about an educator who gives space and respects his or her students. With CoderZ, teachers can allow themselves to be mentors. It creates spaces where students want to actually interact with the educators to get that constructive, PBL-based tips. Seeing this new format of interaction is great. Just great”
Improving CoderZ after the Cyber Robotics Coding Competitions
Dorin told us that in competitions we get a lot of feedback. It is that feedback what allow us to keep on walking a path of success and good results. She decided to tell us some of the specific things parents and teachers asked for, and that the development team at CoderZ are already working on.
– Dorin, what kind of things people ask for? What features can you guys add to CoderZ’s online learning environment?
“Parents ask for a step after the blocks and Java. What’s next when it comes to programming languages. We are already working on adding more programming languages for more advanced students or ages”, and she continues…
“We also want to add, after receiving feedback about it, missions that are in different conditions, where students will need to apply knowledge from a new, wider scope of options. For example, we’d like to bring back the robot in the moon that we used to have, or to even have an underwater mission. When conditions change, the requirements of the program kids will have to do change too”
Dreaming big and changing the world
If there is one thing we can say about Dorin is that she dreams big, and she does everything she can think of. That is why, we wanted to ask her where she wants to take CoderZ in the period to come.
“I’d love to add missions from different, unique worlds such as physics, engineering, sports, music, etc… also, I’ve been dreaming about adding new categories to competitons. Categories where kids will need to do STEM research, to apply creativity, communication skills, etc… everything can be STEM-related!”
– Dorin, before we close this interview, what would you like to tell our readers? Is there any message you’d like to leave for eternity?
“Yes. If you can think of it, you can do it”
If you’d like to see how does it feel to teach and learn with cyber robotics, register now for this 5-day free trial and start experiencing this unique approach to STEM today. May the code be with you!