Educator Focus: Randy Winzer
But do the kids really enjoy the camps? “Response has been excellent,” Winzer says. “I’m stopped on the street and in the mall by previous students, usually being referred to as the ‘robotics guy.’” Parents, too, notice how “excited [the students] are about concepts they were not previously interested it – Math, Science, Teamwork, Problem Solving, etc.”
Winzer offers two different sessions, Adventures in Robotics I and Adventures in Robotics II. The first session is offered twice daily during the first week, and the second session then is offered twice daily as well the second week. The sessions follow a basic schedule, starting with group instruction, then moving on to small group work and brainstorming, with team building activities and competitions rounding out the schedule. The week is capped off with demonstrations for campmates and parents, as well as an awards ceremony.
Although each session has no more than 25 students due to limitations in resources and available lab space, Winzer confesses a great respect for K-12 teachers. “The energy level is intense and I’m exhausted at the end of the day. By the time the [college] semester starts I’m ready to go back to my college students who definitely operate at a lower energy level and I don’t usually have to tell them to stay in their seats.” He also adds that the key to keeping everything running smoothly is to keep the campers occupied with structured activities.
When asked for any hints or tips he might have for educators interested in sponsoring a similar program, Winzer suggested coming to Kansas and working as a volunteer. “I can arrange for you to receive credit from Pittsburg State University and even a temporary dormitory room if needed,” he
said. “You can take away all our good ideas and even offer some of your own. I have had several educators do this the past three years and all have had a positive two weeks!” If you’re interested, email lwhite@LEGOeducation.com for
Want to read more? The entire interview is available to read online! Interview with Randy Winzer