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Vex Robotics Cork Teacher Training Event

Vex Robotics Cork Teacher Training Event

20 September, 2019

On September 13 CIT welcomed 70 teachers from both primary and secondary schools across the Cork area for the Vex Robotics Cork Teacher Training event.

The event, which was delivered in partnership with Dell Technologies, informed teachers involved in the annual VEX Robotics Competition (VRC) of this year’s games and rules. The competition requires both primary and secondary students to design, build and programme a robot, competing in regional and national competitions culminating in the VEX World Competition in Kentucky, USA.

The VEX Robotics Competition was designed to promote student's interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects. As well as programming, designing and building skills, participants acquire soft skills such as project management, presentation skills, teamwork, leadership, PR and more.

Dr Sharon Lawton, Science for Life Officer at CIT Access Office said there is a role for every child in the competition. “The competition targets every aspect of STEM and the students involved take the initiative because they are given ownership. While VEX focusses on hard science skills, participants also develop soft skills like leadership, communication and teamwork. They are an integral part of this programme but also an integral part of surviving in the workplace,” Dr Lawton said.

Bob Savage, Vice President, Regional CIO for EMEA and Cork site leader for Dell Technologies and Chairperson CIT Governing Body agrees. “It’s about much more than coding. This whole concept brings in hardware, mechanics, programme management, teamwork and presentation skills. It gets people familiar with the concept of the next-generation technology of which robotics is key.”

The programme has been such a success that it is currently being piloted by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment in ten schools in Co Monaghan, with a view to it becoming part of the national curriculum.

CIT’s successful submission for funding from Science Foundation Ireland has enabled The Vex Robotics programme to grow on a national scale.  As well as Dell Technologies in Cork and Limerick, CIT is now partnered with IT Tralee, Letterkenny IT, Dundalk IT, IT Carlow, Mary Immaculate College, Waterford IT.

CIT also partnered with Offaly County Council in making a successful application for funding from The Department of Rural and Community Development. This has allowed Offaly County Council to roll out the programme in schools and libraries in the county.

However, David Hodge, CIT’s Vex Development Officer, said that while the growth in numbers reflects the success of the programme more funding is required. He estimates 350 teams will compete in this year's competition, a sharp increase on the 12 teams who participated in the first competition in 2012.

“With kits costing €500 for primary schools and €1000 for secondary school, funding will become an issue. In order for the programme to succeed we hope that local businesses and industry will step in to support their schools by purchasing equipment,” he said.

The Vex Robotics Competition will take place in CIT in February. If you would like more information on participating or becoming a partner please contact Dr Sharon Lawton on 021 4335108 or sharon.lawton@cit.ie.

                                                                                                                                                               

 

David Hodge and Dr Sharon Lawton 

 

If you would like to find out more about collaboration opportunities within CIT, call 021 4335302 or email extendedcampus@cit.ie