Keen TeenKeen Teen

Tuesday at ISTE 2015, the Playground students who build and compete with robots were on the floor strutting their stuff. I talked to a couple of these young robotics experts about their projects, their robots, what they learned, and what they see going forward. Not one of them mentioned the Three Laws, which I do admit makes me a little nervous.

There was very little more inspiring about this conference than seeing kids bringing exactly what we’re talking about in sessions. However, the lack of diversity in and around the ISTE Playground was noticeable and disappointing. You’ll see in the below videos that everyone I caught on video was male, and all but one were white. I was lucky enough to talk to the group pictured above, Keen Teen from New Jersey (Sunit Pradhan, Meher Sukhija, Abhie Maharana, Surya Ananthu, Yatharth Pandey, Anudeep Revuri and not pictured is Shakthi Rave), and I regret that I wasn’t on top of it with my phone when I did. No excuse, I should be better. Keen Teen is an app they built which helps students keep their days organized and I wish I had captured their enthusiasm and explanations. But this group of boys and only one girl was as diverse as the Playground got and I’m calling on ISTE to work harder to be sure their guest presenters are more equally balanced in ethnicity and in gender come Denver 2016.

This is Seamus and Zac from Penndel talking about their Lego League robot and doing a quick demo.

I talked with Team Flaming Phoenix from Kennett Square, PA about the challenges and learning opportunities involved in building their robot. The enthusiasm and depth of knowledge on display makes me want to make my own robot…with lasers.

I’m pretty sure these guys from Springside Chestnut Hill Academy are going to take over the world. Or at least be on the team that builds the robots that eventually enslave us. So I’m getting it on record* that I like them and they seemed very nice and gracious and forgiving.

Stay tuned to the CUE Blog for more from ISTE 2015 as the spotty wifi allows me to upload stuff.

* Not unlike the Simpsons Kent Brockman’s approach (because that turned out pretty well for him):http://memegenerator.net/instance/48614431


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Doug Robertson

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