Jamaica College launches robotics programme

Sunday, December 20, 2009

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JAMAICA College (JC) has announced the establishment of a robotics programme and its entry in the premier robotics competition in the United States -- US FIRST Robotics Competition -- for high school students.



The Jamaica College Old Boys Association of New York will partner JC in the project and is planning the creation of a fully outfitted robotics lab at JC and practical applications of robotics adopted in JC's science education.



The project marks the historic first entry of a Caribbean high school in the robotics field and its organisers hope to pave the way for the popularisation of artificial intelligence technology in Jamaica and the region.



With the rapid adoption of technology widely recognised as vital to Jamaica's progress, JC is seeking to use robotics to motivate students to consider careers in engineering and science.



Studies indicate that students participating in the US FIRST competition, in comparison with their peer group, are, JC said:



*More than three times as likely to major specifically in engineering.



*Significantly more likely to expect to achieve a post graduate degree.



*More than twice as likely to expect to pursue a career in science and technology.



*Nearly four times as likely to expect to pursue a career specifically in engineering.



"We are very pleased to have the opportunity to establish our robotics programme and participate in the prestigious FIRST competition," said Ruel Reid, principal of Jamaica College. "The entire science programme at JC will benefit from the project. Staff and students alike are very appreciative and excited."



The project will be formally launched at JC next month. Then, JC stakeholders and members of the academic community will be able to get details of the programme and how it is intended to transform science education at JC with practical applications in computer software and hardware development, engineering, mathematics and general problem-solving techniques.



Dr David Levermore, a research engineer and JC alumnus, heads the project technical team.



"The experience will not only be challenging and exciting, but the students will develop greater self-confidence, technical knowledge and valuable teamwork as well as leadership skills," he said.

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