"Teachers get crash course in robotics" in Penn Current

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"Teachers get crash course in robotics" in Penn Current

By Lauren Hertzler

September 22, 2016

"The Research Experience for Teachers initiative paired local middle school teachers, tasked with conducting graduate-level science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) research, with doctoral students working in the labs of the Penn Engineering’s Dan Koditschek, Kostas Daniilidis, and Vijay Kumar, the Nemirovsky Family Dean.

For six weeks during her summer vacation, Henry C. Lea School’s Latoya Landfair spent hours each day in Penn’s General Robotics, Automation, Sensing, and Perception (GRASP) Laboratory. Studying alongside nine other School District of Philadelphia middle school teachers, Landfair was able to learn about computer vision—a field she plans to introduce to her seventh-grade math students this year.

With support from her new contacts at the GRASP Lab, Landfair, a Graduate School of Education alumna, will also be in charge of Lea’s first robotics program.

“I’ve heard of robotics programs before,” Landfair says. “But I never thought I could actually lead one.”

That is, until now.

Landfair garnered her confidence to run such a program while participating in this past summer’s GRASP Lab-led Research Experience for Teachers (RET) initiative, which is backed by a three-year National Science Foundation grant. The new project paired local middle school teachers, tasked with conducting graduate-level science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) research, with doctoral students working in the labs of the School of Engineering and Applied Science’s Dan Koditschek, Kostas Daniilidis, and Vijay Kumar, the Nemirovsky Family Dean."

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