Formosa VEX IQ Tower Takeover Competition at Taipei American School (December 6 – 7, 2019)
Over the past four years, the robotics after school program in ISKL’s High School has supported and provided the opportunity for groups of students to acquire programming and engineering skills with the end goal of attending the Formosa VEX Robotics Competition, hosted by Taipei American School (TAS) held in December each year.
Having access to and learning robotics in Middle School (MS) and High School (HS) helps to address the growing demand for the integration of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). In addition, robotics provides an avenue for the real-world application of concepts taught in classes while guiding students to gain an understanding of relationships and connections.
For the past three years, through twice-weekly three hours after school and Saturday work sessions, 25-30 HS students led by Matthew Durham (MS Science) have spent many hours learning about the yearly competition rules, planning, creating, prototyping, testing and refining their designs. Each year the Vex Robotics Competition /Robotics Education and Competition Foundation maintains and manages the fastest growing robotics program globally with more than 20,000 teams from over 50 countries that take place in over 1,700 competitions worldwide. The year culminates in April at the world championships in Louisville, Kentucky, USA.
Yearly, the two day Formosa Vex competition attracts over 36 teams from within the region and beyond. IASAS schools are represented by ISKL, ISB, SAS, and TAS. The competition includes round-robin games, as well as driver skills and autonomous program challenges. The combination of points earned during these endeavors determines rankings, and from these alliances are formed. After this is the knockout rounds, followed by quarter-finals, semi-finals, and finals. This year the two ISKL teams fortuitously ended up in a joint alliance and narrowly missed out on the quarter-finals. Two years ago, ISKL was chosen to be in an alliance with Taipei American School and won joint first place.
A Robotics after school program such as the High School initiative needs to possess characteristics such as; passionate advocacy, leadership, the desire to build capacity, longevity and ongoing funding. Through Matthew Durham’s advocacy and leadership, countless hours after school and on weekends the HS (and now MS ) Robotics program has been built from the grassroots level up, learning from other schools, gaining knowledge and sourcing equipment that has built capacity within the programs. To complement the program ISKL’s Inspiration Fund has been an integral component of both HS and MS Robotics ASA growth; two years ago funding was received to purchase robot brains, and building kits and this year funding was awarded which will allow the MS to host the inaugural ISKL MS VEX IQ Competition on February 22nd, 2020. At the competition we hope to host 18 teams (12 from other schools and 6 from ISKL); volunteer faculty and staff, HS and MS students from the Robotics ASA will take on roles as referees, coaches, mentors, announcers, field set up and more. Both the participation at the Formosa Vex Event and ISKL’s MS competition in February 2020 is an excellent example of 21st-century learning and the culmination of vision and passion that has been now passed on to ISKL students.
We now send an open invitation to the community to attend and participate in our inaugural competition on the 22nd of February, 2020.
~ Dr. Bron Narsiman, MS Technology Co-Ordinator
Watch the competition webcast here:
About Dr. Narsiman
Bron Narsiman is the Middle School Technology Coordinator at the International School of Kuala Lumpur (ISKL) and holds an Education Doctorate in Instructional Technology & Distance Education, a Graduate Certificate in STEM Leadership and a Masters of Education in Educational Technology. She is also an Apple Distinguished Educator, Apple Teacher, and Google Certified. Bron is passionate about the opportunities that exist when Technology and STEAM initiatives are embedded in the mainstream curriculum and beyond.