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Tech Fair held at Eastside

Pepper the robot interacts with Eastside students

 

“It was so cool!” said a group of 5th graders at Eastside Elementary after finishing their time at the Computer Science Fair put on by the school's Computer Science Club.

 

Jana Chao, fifth grade teacher for both English and Computer Science and event organizer, wanted to see kids exposed to computer science as it can look in the real world.

 

“The more connections that they [students] can make between what they are doing in the classroom and what is happening in the world around them, the better,” she said.

 

Having the students exposed to all the possibilities that technology allows for and some of the creative ways that it is being used was very exciting for teachers such as Brittany Freeny and district instructional technologist Jesse Emling.

 

“We sit here and talk about this in class but what does it really mean, these experiences, they bring that knowledge to life,” he said.

 

Students experienced various computer science-based technologies from robots to virtual reality. Pepper, the Humanoid Robot, brought by some of C Spire’s computer science professionals from their headquarters in Ridgeland, was a popular station and brought out lots of laughs and gasps from the students.

 

Pepper showed students how coding and robotics can work together; students could ask Pepper questions, have a selfie made with Pepper, and even got the chance to dance with Pepper.

 

The Clinton Police Department bomb squad also came to the fair and showed the students the Remotec F6B Bomb Robot that they use to identify, move and dispose of explosive devices.

 

On the other side of the gym students were working with augmented reality on iPads that allowed them to watch planes fly around the room and cause explosions.

 

They also got to look at 3D printed models of various military vehicles, presented by the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC). ERDC also showed students a few virtual reality research projects that are used in experiments for training, simulations, and possibility forecasting. Students were amazed by the all of the reactions that they could create within the virtual realm.

“Knowing that these kids could go into this field [computer science] in a few years because of something that was sparked in them this day, that’s priceless,” said Erin Barrios, instructional technologist.

 

Chao agreed, “if just one kid says, ‘I want THAT to be a part of my job when I grow up,’ then we have done our job. The Computer Science department for the district is very excited to have new partnerships and spark new interest in their student’s minds, in hopes that experiences like today will lead to future STEM career choices for some of these students down the road.”

 

Eastside students learn about virtual reality

 

Students learn about robots used by the bomb squad

 

Press release by CPSD communications intern Lexey Monceaux.