Thanks for your comments and encouragement. I do believe that there is a need for programs outside of formal public education classrooms. I taught in a public school for 28 years but I always found that the kids did their best work when they weren't constrained by a specific plan that specified outcomes. Kids do best when they are exploring, finding their own passion and discovering the unknown.
Thanks Sylvie, I must admit that at times I do question the path I have taken. However, no matter how tired or streesed out I am, when I get up to teach a group of kids, I know that I made the right decision. Admitting to myself that I am a teacher may have been the best decision I have made.
Excellent work, David. Micros and the enabling technologies from mass-produced smart-phones are making cheap robotics much more accessible. I work with FIRST and its FIRST LEGO League competitions, which are gaining real traction in schools and elsewhere.
For me, the most important aspect of all of this is that focusing kids on problem solving lessens the behavioral conditioning that's so much a component of regular schooling.
I love working with the kids. Making a room full of under-privileged kids light up with an idea keeps me going for a month, and Intel (my employer) encourages me to do it once a week! The FLL tournaments start this weekend across the country, and Arizona has over 30% more teams competing this year. I am proud to have been asked to serve as Head Robot Judge for two of the regional contests. Dean Kamen is just flat-out brilliant for thinking it up, and the more I learn the more I'm in awe of how it all fits together.
I think it takes a very special kind of person to dedicate oneself to the education of children. Not everyone has the patience and ability to simplify things without dumbing the subject down. I really admire what you're doing, David. Keep up the awesome work!