A locally-developed robot called Pablo will see Warilla High School students explore creativity and technology in an exciting new program to run at the school in 2017.
Warilla High School is partnering with Polygon Door, a resident company in the University of Wollongong’s iAccelerate program. Founded by two UOW academics – Polygon Door will work with Warilla High School to offer an innovative locally grown program in creative robotics.
Polygon Door Director and Co-Founder Mat Wall-Smith said schools were under increasing pressure to equip students for a dynamic and exciting – if uncertain – work future.
“With that future in mind the federal government’s Innovation and Science agenda emphasizes the need for students to engage with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) disciplines,” Mr Wall-Smith said.
“Warilla High’s Head Teacher of Teaching and Learning, Renjee Pettit, contacted us looking for a way to support both teachers and students in addressing this need,” he said. “Pablo – a robot that draws – does that and more.”
Mr Wall-Smith said the Pablo platform was a comprehensive class package that includes 10 robot kits and 10 weeks of lesson plans and activities.
“The class kit will give Warilla High students the opportunity to build, program, re-engineer and create with a sophisticated platform that teaches more than simply robotics for robotics sake,” he said. “Pablo empowers students to tangle with one of the most interesting questions in artificial intelligence and the relation between human and machine – that of creativity.
Polygon Door Director and Co-founder Dr Etienne Deleflie said the locally-developed program does more than provide an engagement with STEM disciplines and technical skills.
“The Pablo platform engages students by offering them a creative and aesthetic output,” Dr Deleflie said. “As the students develop ideas for drawings, they are energised to negotiate technical challenges. This negotiation, where a creative vision is simultaneously tempered and empowered by technology, is at the core of innovation.”
Warilla High School Principal John Hambly said he was excited at the potential of working with a local provider that offers on-going support and development of the program in response to the needs of teachers and students.
“Our partnership with Polygon Door is a very pragmatic manifestation of our emphasis on engaging students in a 21st century context that will challenge, support and extend their learning. This is a unique opportunity that will not only engage students, but focus attention on the pivotal role of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics for individuals and the broader community.”