PA Rural Robotics Initiative
Opening new opportunities to students should always be a priority when it comes to school administration at any level. Whether it be a new sport, club, activity, or simply investing to improve current programs. Anything for students to expand their knowledge and advance their problem solving skills is crucial. As of late, including in rural areas, programs including robotics or other STEM activities are quickly growing.
Nearly 10% of careers in the United States involve some form of STEM, or Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics; and that number is rising quickly. According to the U.S. bureau of labor statistics, students should begin thinking about or even deciding a projected career path early in high school. In 1980, there were an estimated 4,000 industrial robots used. This number jumped to around 1,600,000 in 2015, and exploded to around 3,000,000 actively used today. In any industry rising this quickly, new interest and employees are essential. In the past decade, robotics as a high school program has become more readily available to schools all across the country, resulting in both big city schools and rural schools investing in some of the many robotics organizations. One great example of these is VEX Robotics.
VEX Robotics being offered at schools is beneficial to both the students and the district. More skills for students, and more community outreach for districts is favorable to all parties. Mr. Richard Smith, a school principal says “It has opened the world of STEM and specifically robotics to myself, staff, and our students. It is providing real-world applications for our student’s knowledge and problem solving skills. This is the best thing I have seen happen for our students in northwest Pennsylvania in the 26 years I have been involved in PA.” Schools benefit, staff benefits, the community benefits, and students benefit.