Program Spotlight – Robotics at WCI!

This year WCI is excited to add curriculum developed by Code.org called Computer Science Discoveries to our Robotics curriculum.  Our robotics teacher, Kristen Oliner, was accepted to be a part of the cohort of teachers at one of Code.org‘s “TeacherCon” weeks this summer. Further training will be given during four full day sessions (to be held at the Contra Costa County Office of Education).

WCI’s experience with Robotics over the past two years led to the decision that students need a working knowledge of programming in order to begin working with robots. The Code.org Computer Science Discoveries curriculum is a great stepping stone to help our students work with robots.

Last November Kristen attended a weekend training at UC Davis to learn about their C-Stem Studio and Linkbot Labs, along with Assistant Principal, Leah Dubinsky. The UC Davis training and student courses focus on the use of Linkbots or Lego Mindstorms. WCI purchased Barobo Linkbots, which were used in the Robotics class last year and will be used with this year’s students as well. In May, Kristen went to the C-Stem Day Robotics Competition at UC Davis where Alison Gomez, last year’s Robotics teacher, was one of the judges.

With continued training from Code.org, the CCCOE, and UC Davis, along with collaboration between site and district colleagues, we expect that the current Computer Science Discoveries/Robotics class will advance the robotics program at WCI. Kristen has been introducing the 6th grade Exploratory classes to programming for the past two years, including last year’s intro to part of the UC Davis C-Stem Studio, “RoboBlockly.”

Kristen previously taught:

  • for 10 years as a computer applications teacher at elementary and middle schools in the Oakland Unified School District,
  • for 11 years at Walnut Heights Elementary as an instructional specialist, teaching computer applications to grades K-2, and
  • for the past two years at WCI teaching Exploratory Computers on the 6th grade electives wheel (along with Digital Movie Making and Digital Journalism)