Learning Lab

Teacher and students at robotics competition

Warren teacher utilizes WOUB Learning Lab to build a middle school robotics program

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Warren Middle School students competed in statewide robotics competition

ATHENS, OH – When Warren Middle School Technology Teacher Brad Hauenstein stopped at the WOUB Learning Lab booth at the Ohio Educational Technology Conference in 2019, he had no idea the door he was about to open for his students and his program.

“I started chatting with WOUB’s Educational Services Manager Deborah Brewer. I didn’t have a lot of technology resources to use in the classroom to get the kids really interested at the time,” said Hauenstein. “Deborah said she could bring robots to the classroom and teach a class. She did that and then asked if I wanted to keep the robots for a week or two and see how I liked using them to teach my students.”

Hauenstein took her up on that offer and quickly realized the impact the robots were having on his students.

“I had no training using robots in the classroom,” said Hauenstein. “But this gave me the time to experiment and play. I found my students were way more interested in learning the concepts if they had something to touch, interact with or play with to learn from. Deborah and the Learning Lab team are there to support teachers if the school can’t afford it. They can get the items and let teachers check them out. What the WOUB Learning Lab offers is so amazing.”

Hauenstein used the experience to talk to the leaders at Warren Middle School about the value the robots brought to the student learning experience. He then applied for and received a grant and was able to purchase a set of Cue and IQ robots for his classroom.

Not long after, a local businessman donated $5,000 to Warren Local Schools in support of starting a VEX V5 robotics competition program.  Thanks to the Cue and IQ robots that were already in his classroom, Hauenstein was in a good position to get the program up and running.

This school year, Hauenstein and his 8th grade students entered the regional VEX Robotics Competition, received an excellence award and qualified for the state competition. In March, they traveled to Akron, Ohio to compete against other robotics teams across the Buckeye state.

“It was a crazy adventure,” said Hauenstein. “We did not move on to the world competition. But we learned from the experience and know what we will do differently next time.”

Because of the success Hauenstein’s students had at the VEX competition, Warren’s curriculum director secured another grant and turned robotics into a class at Warren Middle School. Next school year there will be four teams competing in the VEX Robotics Competition.

“Deborah and the WOUB Learning Lab bringing the robots out to our class was the start of all of this. She encouraged me to keep the robots and try something new with my students. It really opened my eyes to the possibilities,” said Hauenstein. “I feel like a lot of teachers don’t know about the WOUB Learning Lab and the resources that are available to them. Many southern Ohio schools don’t have the dollars to take a chance on something and purchase technology equipment that may or may not work with their students. The Learning Lab is so beneficial because teachers are able to borrow cool things to use in their classrooms, see how it works, and then show their district leaders the impact.”

To learn more about how the WOUB Learning Lab can support teachers and students in the classroom and the resources that are available, visit woub.org/learninglab or email woublearninglab@woub.org. K-12 educators in the WOUB service region can check items out from the WOUB Learning Lab Lending Library here: https://woublearninglablibrary.myturn.com/library/

About WOUB Public Media Learning Lab

Using the trusted and valued educational resources of WOUB Public Media and PBS, the WOUB Learning Lab empowers teachers, students, parents and caregivers to use 21st century learning tools and media proven to impact student success. Through professional development, classroom integration of educational technology, promotion of WOUB children’s programming and PBS Learning Media and supporting parents and families in the education of their children, the WOUB Learning Lab is a go-to resource for high-quality educational advancement support.