About Robot Springboard Technology Camp
The Robot Springboard Technology Camp @ Drexel University is a one-week summer camp for elementary or middle school girls who will be in grades 6 to 9 in the coming school year. Since 2013, Robot Springboard has engaged more than 100 girls from the greater Philadelphia area in hands-on STEM learning.
The Robot Springboard program offers an innovative combination of hands-on programming with robots, real world problem solving relating STEM concepts to problems girls care about in their own neighborhoods, and near peer mentoring. Robotics offer an exciting and an effective entry point into STEM. Providing skills and confidence with computing present a significant competitive advantage in the workforce.
Through its peer learning approach for middle school girls and mentoring for high school girls that lead the program, Robot Springboard has a track record of success in producing the next generation of female leaders in computing.
In addition to offering hands-on STEM learning experiences for the middle school girls who attend, the program also provides valuable skill building to the high school girls who serve as leaders and mentors.
The Robot Springboard Technology Camp @ Drexel is designed to get middle school girls excited about exploring a career in technology and computer science. The goal of the camp is to empower the girls attending and help them realize that they can be successful in technology. Robot Springboard is funded in part by an NCWIT Aspire IT grant.
There are four parts to the Robot Springboard Technology Camp:
- "Group think" and brainstorming exercises
Attendees will learn about project management, teamwork skills and leadership skills.
- LEGOS® MINDSTORMS® robotics kits and NXT programming language
Students will learn about robot construction, programming and the use of digital and analog sensors.
- Brainstorming Social Solutions
Each day the girls will work in small groups to identify a social or societal challenge in their community they can help address with a technology solution. They will then brainstorm to research and develop their solution such as an app that helps identify local recycling centers or helps the elderly order and track medications. They do not have to create the actual technology solution but they should be able to describe and define their idea.
- Career Exposure
Each day women working and teaching in computer science and technical fields will speak to the girls at lunchtime and share with them their experiences and excitement with working in technology fields.
Participants may either attend a half- or full-day session, depending on interest and availability. All participants will attend a lunchtime session each day (Noon to 1:30 p.m.) where they will gain career exposure by listening to and speaking with a different women working in technology. The program runs Monday through Friday and concludes with a Technology Showcase on Friday afternoon where attendees can demonstrate their newly acquired robotics and programming skills. The Technology Showcase includes a light buffet dinner as well as speakers and special media presentations.
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