VEX Robotics is a unique school programme, giving children as young as 5 their first opportunity to learn about engineering and robotics. Schools are provided with an easy-to-follow curriculum with support from Offaly County Council. VEX Robotics gives students a hands-on, minds-on, STEM learning experience with technology. VEX encourages creativity, teamwork, leadership, and problem solving among groups. It allows educators of all types to engage and inspire the STEM problem solvers of tomorrow.
While VEX focusses on hard science skills, participants also develop soft skills like leadership, communication, and teamwork. Offaly County Council’s Broadband Officer and Head of IT, Ray Bell says “Offaly schools have embraced the STEM initiative and now Offaly schools are competing at a national and now international stage, and for these students the skills will provide an exciting future.” He says, students develop critical thinking, coding, designing, engineering, and teamwork skills. “All of these talents and skills will assist them in their career paths.”
Chief Executive of Offaly County Council, Anna Marie Delaney, said VEX Robotics is “just one of a number of exciting initiatives” that the local authority is supporting to drive STEM education, research and jobs.
Following on from very successful county finals, seven Offaly primary schools progressed to the National VEX Robotics finals held in Páirc Uí Chaoimh, Cork. Tubber National School won two awards – the Robot Skills Champion award (presented to the team with the highest combined Programming Skills Challenge and Driving Skills Challenge score) and the Think Award (presented to a team that has developed and effectively used quality program as part of their strategy to solve the game challenge).
Tubber NS will now represent Ireland at the Vex IQ Robotics World Championship Finals in Dallas, Texas later this year.
The programme is delivered by Offaly County Council in partnership with CIT, Department of Rural and Community Development, Offaly Local Development Company, Offaly Local Enterprise Office, Offaly Libraries and Offaly County Councils ICT Department and everyone is to be commended for their innovative and proactive approach.