During the spring semester, The University of Findlay’s Choose Ohio First scholarship recipients were given a unique opportunity to interact with Lego® robots.
The Choose Ohio First Scholarship Program awards Ohio colleges, universities and their business partners that have developed innovative academic programs to recruit and retain more Ohio students into STEMM fields (science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine). The scholarship program is part of the state’s strategic effort to significantly strengthen Ohio’s position in world markets such as aerospace, medicine, computer technology and alternative energy.
Ten of UF’s Choose Ohio First scholarship recipients, who are majoring in the area of computer science, were divided into two teams; each team received a Lego robot kit.
The teams, which were led by UF seniors, were given minimal guidelines with the robots. They were instructed to figure out how to use them, how to program them and develop a one-hour course to teach a group of faculty and staff members how to do the same.
“Programming Lego robots is a different experience from the coding we typically teach,” said Helen Schneider, Ph.D., associate professor and co-chair of computer science. “We’re exploring how we’ll use the Lego robots in our curriculum in the coming year – maybe in a computer literacy class or in an outreach activity to middle school or high school students.”
Code.org recently launched an initiative to promote the teaching of computer science in every school. The organization encourages all students to start with learning just an Hour of Code™ at an early age.
“It’s a job sector that’s growing,” said Schneider. “If you can introduce programming at a younger age, students will be more interested, and more young adults will choose to go into the computer field.”