Fire Breathing Rubber Duckies and Our Future

Who would have thought that by exploring robotics and teaching children one can get more fulfillment in your life. Weird combo, but it definitely works.

Remember when being called a “Nerd” was meant to be an insult? Now we wear that title proudly! At least we do here at Shing Digital. Yes, technology is fantastic and continuously evolving. Helping clients with their technological needs is a very fulfilling practice. But getting to influence the younger generations to get hooked on technology and engineering through STEM learning, now that is something to be proud of. How do we do this? By engaging in our local FIRST robotics programs for kids ~ Alberta Tech Alliance Association (ATAA).

Robotics has become an integral piece of technology to society. Not only can robotics engage kids in STEM learning and prepare them for the workforce, but it also provides many other benefits. Teamwork, improved communication skills, and critical learning being just a few.

What is STEM Learning?

STEM is an educational approach to learning that uses Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics as access points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking.  The end results are students who take thoughtful risks, engage in experiential learning, persist in problem-solving. Check out this video for a further outline of STEM 

  “ There are an endless number of things to discover about robotics. A lot of it is just too fantastic for people to believe”- Daniel H. Wilson

Alberta Tech Alliance Association (ATAA) consists of 3 separate teams segregated into age groups. The  teams inspire youth to experiment and grow their critical thinking, coding and design skills through hands on STEM learning and robotics. They are divided into Forge Robotics for high school students, FTC (First Tech Challenge) for younger students grade 7 to 9, and FIRST Lego League teams for younger students in elementary school.  The FIRST Lego League is divided further into 2 teams – Fire Breathing Rubber Duckies and BOB Bots.

We Shingalings support ATAA financially but we also have members of our team who spend a significant amount of time coaching and guiding individual teams. Working with kids is always rewarding (especially when they are not your own). Humor aside, these kids are fully engaged because they want to be there. They want to learn and build. In the meantime, they learn a “try-again” attitude which is priceless in life. We get to be on the sidelines witnessing this growth and development.

But do programs like this really work? A hard yes! Check out the FIRST Alumni stories of individuals who went through the program and where their lives led them.

If you have kids who are technology inclined, a Robotics Club may be fit for them. There are many clubs across Alberta and Canada. If you don’t have kids, or simply don’t want to spend time with your own children, maybe volunteering would be fulfilling for you? Either way, check out the program and let us know what you think.