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Robotics Inspire Students in Computer Science

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Students in robot workshop

Lamar University

Lamar University's Increasing Student Participation In Research Development (INSPIRED) team hosts computing workshops for middle and high school students in an effort to get them more interested in computer science through robotics demonstrations.

"Through this camp, we are trying to get them to think about going to college and becoming computer scientists," says Lamar University professor INSPIRED program director Peggy Doerschuk.

The INSPIRED program is supported by a National Science Foundation (NSF) Broadening Participation in Computing grant, with the goal of increasing the number of women and minorities who earn computing degrees. The NSF support enables Lamar to offer the program to students for free.

More than 85 percent of the students who participated in the program say it raised their interest in computer science, Doerschuk says.

The camp teaches high school students to program IntelliBrain robots using Java through several hands-on labs. Students also learn to create their own Web pages, and speakers from the computing industry tell the students about their careers in various computing fields and how to prepare for college.

Middle school students will learn to program Lego NXT robots, create simple animations, and design their own Web pages. Students will work in teams, which each team being assisted by Lamar computer science students and faculty.

The INSPIRED team also travels to middle and high schools to engage students in hands-on demonstrations of robots and other computing applications.

From Lamar University
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