Students from primary and preparatory schools around Qatar, as well as coaches and judges, participated in a practice robotics competition at College of the North Atlantic–Qatar (CNA-Q) to test their skills and prepare for the upcoming National Robot Olympiad.
The organiser of the National Robot Olympiad and dean of Information Technology at CNA-Q, Dr Theodore Chiasson, said the practice competition helped prepare students, coaches and judges.
“The National Robot Olympiad is a big moment for the students and their coaches, who are mostly teachers, as they’ve spent months learning new skills and getting ready to compete. These practice sessions help build their confidence,” it was observed.
“2014 has been a momentous year for the Go Robot programme. We’ve trained 300 teachers in robotics, with some receiving up to 30 hours of instruction. Also, through the generous support of our sponsor Maersk Oil Qatar, 150 competition game tables and 500 robotics kits have been donated to schools throughout Qatar.”
The year-long schools robotics programme, Go Robot, is focused on building interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem) subjects by developing teachers’ skills, organising robotics competitions and investing in school robotics kits.
Two teams from Osama Bin Zaid School at Al Sailiya attended the practice competition held at CNA-Q. Their coach and IT teacher, Tamer Mohamed, said: “Our teams will compete for the first time at this year’s National Robot Olympiad. This practice competition has familiarised them with the rules, competition tables and the atmosphere of a real competition.”
Mohamed said he has seen a greater interest among students in science, technology and mathematics since robotics was introduced at the school.
Head judge Robert Ford, who is also an IT instructor at CNA-Q, said he was using the practice competition to train participants on the competition flow, train judges on the competition rules and test a new scoring system.
“For the National Robot Olympiad in October, almost 50 judges will measure teams’ performance in completing a set of specified tasks, assess robotics projects or act as a referee in the GEN II football competition. Practice competitions like these familiarise the judges with the competition rules and, from my point of view, it is always easier to train judges using actual competition tables rather than using videos and written instructions,” Ford said.
Go Robot was set up in 2012 by CNA-Q and sponsors Maersk Oil Qatar to encourage greater participation in Stem subjects.
It is endorsed and supported by the Supreme Council of Education and Qatar Petroleum.
The Qatar National Robot Olympiad takes place on October 24 and 25.
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