| The News Herald
PANAMA CITY — Hiland Park Elementary introduced kindergarten students to building and programming robots for the first time on Friday.
Educators have increasingly focused on science, technology, engineering and math jobs, or STEM, in recent years due to growing demand. There has been development over the years with STEM programs in schools to get students prepared for the 21st Century.
Hiland Park Elementary is one of a few schools that is able to provide a kid-friendly robotics course. The kindergarten class was able to build a robot and use a tablet to control it.
“A lot of our jobs in the future are going to be tech-savvy,” said Suzanne Gilmore, media specialist at Hiland Park Elementary. “We just want to give them that introduction to know what they’re doing. Their brains are young and they absorb up so much information.”
It didn’t take the kids long to have their robots rolling around the media center at Hiland Park. It took them a little over 10 minutes to build, code and have their robots rolling with minimal help from the teachers.
The curriculum for students is a lot different than what was offered a decade ago. It speaks to the technological advancement of society over the years.
Even Gilmore has recognized the change over the years.
“For instance we didn’t have the grocery apps we have, we couldn’t shop online for groceries,” Gilmore said. “Things have changed dramatically and we just want our kids to be able to keep up.”
The plan is that Hiland Park will continue doing these kind of activities throughout the school year and introduce other students to coding and building robots. Hiland Park has a STEM lab that they use and Gilmore said they’ll be using it a lot this year.