Thoughts on our Latest CRCC Experiences

After the first Cyber Robotics experience in late 2018, I watched in awe as we successfully ran competitions in Israel, Paraguay, Vietnam, Nevada, and waited with trepidation to see how the 2018/19 season of CRCC would launch.

Now, four weeks in, I am breathing a sigh of relief, holding my breath in anticipation and I excited to participate in the upcoming finals. What makes me excite is graphs like this:

Here you can see the growth each day over the boot camp until we reached the total of more than 35,000 student coding. Amazing! Thirty-five thousand students……

14 States, 590 schools, 42.8% female participants, over 2 million simulations and almost 200,000 completed missions. What an amazing effort.

As a spectator (I am not an educator), I am continuously impressed with the selfless efforts that teachers make for their students. In the years I have worked with educational vendors, I always feel humbled by the efforts of teachers. But CRCC is a different level. CRCC is where I have seen the potential of kids. Students in elementary school, middle school or high school who will be the future of their countries. These students will be the workers of the future, the leaders of industry and the influencers of society. And these students are impressive in their drive, their motivation, their curiosity and their ability to innovate and think outside the box. CRCC has been an eye-opener for me.

The Cyber Robotics Coding Competition is unique because it allows ALL students to participate in the competition – not just the 11 or 15 or 22 picked for the team, every student in the school. All through the competition until the finals, our focus has been on inclusion and that lets the students who may never consider software programming as a career or who have no idea what Java is in comparison to C++ and who have never heard the term conditional logic to have a chance to sense this fantastic world that is open to them when they leave school and join the work force. STEM students, those who are pre-oriented to careers in engineering and technology enjoy the competition as well and participate just as much.

In a recent video posted by Wedgewood Middle School in Fort Worth, Texas, students of very different levels talk about their experience and the fun they had, where they got stuck, what they liked. You can see how different programming languages and the use of advanced programming skills and basic programming are covered in the competition.

If you search out the hashtag #CRCCforAll on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, you will find out how engaged teachers and classes are in the event, this is the objective – get as many students, teachers, and administrators involved in coding and robotics as possible.

Our team has been on the road, we have visited middle school classes across the country participating in the CRCC. While interfacing directly with teachers and students we have learned so much about the balance between the classroom needs and the school or pedagogic needs. We have learned about how we can better address the practicalities of the teacher in the classroom while also ensuring that we answer the guidelines and standards required in emerging regulations for the inclusion of STEM and Computer Science in many states.

Our direction is to expand the scope of the curriculum and ensure we have a variety of topics related to the best programming languages to teach in middle school, to curriculum engaging STEM topics like Math, Science, and Biology and how they relate to software development.

In summary
Software development is the most in-demand career path in modern industry. Through the Cyber Robotics Coding Competition, students who may never have had the opportunity to learn what coding is all about have now had that chance – from this perspective, we succeeded.

Many girls and many disenfranchised students never get the chance to truly experience robotics because they are unavailable to them or they are intimidated by the environment of the Robotics Club which are often focused on the kids already interested and experience with robots. By putting a robot in 35,000 students’ hands, we have succeeded.

Many schools (too many!), because of their size, their funding, their academic focus or just because they don’t have the time, never experience robotics and never have the chance to teach coding. By involving them in CRCC, we have succeeded.

So, in my view – I think we have had a great experience with CRCC.

About the author

This article was written by the Graham Celine, Intelitek and CoderZ’s VP of Marketing. Graham has been promoting the competition, and the products from CoderZ for two years and works out of our headquarters in Derry, NH. When not promoting education for STEM and CTE, you can find Graham on a golf course nearby.

If you want to try learning or teaching STEM with Cyber Robots, just request a free trial and discover a new, exciting way to engage your students.