VEX IQ Team 2021 won the STEM Research Project Award for their research into robotic devices used to help military veterans with spinal cord injuries at 2015 VEX Worlds. As a result of their research project work and advocacy, the team has been invited to attend the American Airline's Sky Ball in Dallas, Texas, as guests of Oakley's Infinite Hero Organization.
Students learn best when given the opportunity to explore and discover on their own. It reminds me of a quote from child behavior psychologist, Jean Piaget, who said, and I paraphrase, “Every time I teach a child something they could have discovered on their own, I rob them of the opportunity to understand it completely.” I feel strongly it is my role to facilitate the learning process and guide the students in a way that leads them to discover truth on their own. How much more valuable it is to develop hands-on lessons that do just this, than to simply dump information onto students. VEX Robotics is one such tool where students work collaboratively to design and develop a robot to function in a particular way. Seeing my students use programming skills that are beyond my ability tells me we are doing something right when we provide the resources and give access to this kind of learning. It’s education at its best. We are helping students develop the skills and strategies necessary to compete in the 21st century. We are equipping them with the tools for success in jobs that don’t even exist yet!