Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Livin' La Vida Robot

It is amazing what students can accomplish when you believe in them. I believe that is why everyone loves the movies "Stand and Deliver" or "Dangerous Minds." Believing in kids and then having them accomplish something so beyond anything you ever hoped for is a teacher's dream.

The latest addition of Wired has an article on four high school students in Phoenix, AZ that built a robot. And they didn't just build any robot. They built an underwater robot for a NASA competition for under $800! Now that may not impress most of you - but when MIT enters the same event with corporate sponsorship and a budget of $11,000 - it makes a difference.

But lets move beyond the fact that a bunch of high school students BEAT MIT in a robotic competition. Lets even go beyond the fact that these students are from a poor disadvantaged area of Phoenix. These students were given hope - a hope that they haven't had before. They are all Mexican non-documented high school students that are trying to make it in a society and a country that does not welcome them.

That is what we should be giving our students, rich or poor, ESL or ADD - we should be giving them the belief in themselves that they can accomplish anything they want to do. And the best way to do that is to have them ACTUALLY accomplish something they are good at. It was the teamwork, the teachers and the sense of accomplishing something that was bigger than themselves that gave them hope.

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