Robotics demonstration helps students learn about technology

The DASH robot helps kids learn about robotics and programming. (PNC photo)

Local engineers held a robotics demonstration at their old elementary school to help students learn more about technology

Engineers Mathew Paco and Francis Guevarra wanted to find a way to give back to the community.

Growing up in the tri-village of Mongmong-Toto-Maite, they donated six of the DASH and DOT robots and other electronic accessories to their former elementary school, JQ San Miguel, through the company Wonder Workshop

Established in 2012, the Wonder Workshop teaches kids how to program with their toy robots that make coding fun using apps on iPads, iPhones, Android tablets and phones.

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Francis Guevarra, Wonder Workshop Senior Firmware Engineer, said: “So DASH is a quirky little robot that we made, DASH and DOT. It has a lot of functionality, it has a lot of sensors, it can detect whether there is an obstacle in front, it can listen to your voice, you can record your voice on the robot. It has kind of, like your cell phone, has a meter so it kind of knows where it’s at. There’s really a lot of technology in DASH and we try to incorporate as much technology as we can to help kids learn how to code. And the thing about DASH is that you don’t need to build it yourself, it’s already built … we just wanted the kids to focus on coding and programming.”

Both Gueverra and Paco feel that introducing robotics to students as early as elementary can benefit them in the long run.

“When I was here back in the day, I was hoping that certain things like this was available but technology hasn’t evolved yet at the time. Now, we’re able to provide these kids with technology and the tools and the resources they can use so that they can also learn programming which is a very important skill to have nowadays. Everything’s high-tech so we really wanted to share that with the community,” Guevarra said.

For his part, engineer Mathew Paco said: “I’m a proud parent here on Guam so having the opportunity to teach the kids from a lower level about programming allows them to gain skills that will help them in the future. This will help them think logically, not just in daily life. They’ll also learn how to plan things and learn how programming works.”

Guevarra, who now resides in California says that it’s exciting that kids now have access to all of this technology.

He and Paco want to make sure that the students make the best use of the robots.