What hasn’t changed is the level of expectations of achievement and accomplishment in our school system where the standard is the traditional methods of lecture-based teaching and submitting a worksheet. We need students to learn skills related to critical thinking, problem-solving, communication, collaboration, creativity, and innovation. Project or challenge-based learning unlocks the potential of every student without the constraints of grade level or ability by leveraging the desire to solve a problem or compete against fellow students. It is amazing to see what can be accomplished when you challenge the smartphone generation with a problem then get out of their way and allow them to solve the problem.
MineField is being introduced in 2017 with enhancements in 2018 as a new and more engaging competitive robotics program for elementary, middle and high school students. The purpose of the game is to help the next generation of students find their passion in the fields of engineering at a young enough age where school has a purpose. The smartphone generation is unlike any prior generational defined group of students and they are looking for complex challenges to stimulate their minds. When we hand a smartphone to a 5-year-old we are giving them access to a world of information and a never-ending stream of complex challenges in video games. This has re-trained their brain to learn quickly with no supervision and to embrace the concept of “failing early and failing often” in order to reach the next level.
The Robot Drone League represents the ultimate challenge for the next generation of students who want to show what they can accomplish – without any help from parents, teachers or mentors. The field is large, the game is longer, the robots are bigger, the drones are ready for action and the on-field challenges worthy of their time and effort.