DERRY, N.H. – Jan. 28, 2019 – The Nevada Cyber Robotics Coding Competition, scheduled to take place February 1 at the Texas Station Convention Center in Las Vegas, marks the end of the 2018/19 season of the Cyber Robotics Coding Competitions (CRCCs), a series of first-of-its-kind, free-to-participate online coding and robotics tournaments for students in grades five through nine. A total of 581 schools with 37,212 students in 26 states participated in the 2018-19 competitions and Nevada is the 10th face to face finals event. More than a third of the students (38 percent) were from schools without a computer science course, a third of all participating schools were in rural areas and 240 schools were Title I.
Organized by the Intelitek STEM and CTE Education Foundation (ISCEF), the CRCCs engage students in STEM learning by using game-based competitions that are both safe and fun. Two hundred educators who were surveyed unanimously agreed that the competition platform, Intelitek’s award-winning CoderZ Cyber Robotics Learning Environment, which features a graphical simulation of LEGO Mindstorms EV3 robots, engaged their students. For example, Brenda Tharp, the teacher-mentor of the North Hampton School team in New Hampshire, stated, “I can’t say enough about your program. It engages students in STEM and is FUN!!”
The vast majority (98 percent) of surveyed educators also agreed that that the platform’s content is relevant for computer science and STEM learning. “We absolutely loved this program and it gave students an opportunity to explore robotics/programming more!” said Brittany Sosa, a teacher at Canyon Middle School in New Braufels, Texas.
No prior experience on the part of students or teachers was required for schools to participate in the competition. In fact, the majority (66 percent) of the teachers mentoring the student teams had no experience with teaching coding. ISCEF prepared participating teachers by providing orientation and training and allowing them to practice on CoderZ before the competitions began.
The top three states in terms of student participation were the following:
- Texas where 52 schools signed up 4,293 students for the competition;
- New Jersey where 83 schools had 6,427 students take part; and
- Pennsylvania where 6,444 students from a whopping 104 schools participated.
Nevada also has had a good showing, with 3,222 students from 18 schools competing throughout the state. For the state finals, two student representatives from each school will be challenged to complete advanced missions (coding tasks) under a time constraint. Judges will evaluate the teams’ total score as well as other variables, including time to complete, number of missions attempted/completed, strategy, and code.
“The Nevada Finals mark the end of a spectacular coding/robotics season,” said Ido Yerushalmi, CEO of Intelitek. “It was especially gratifying to see so many schools without their own computer science course participating in the CRCCs. We wanted to introduce coding literacy to all students, including those in schools where geographical or funding issues may be barring course implementation. According to teacher feedback that is exactly what we did. We will continue to make the CRCCs free-to-participate events, and we can hardly wait to see how many sign-up for the next competition season.”
In the spring, CRCC will be run in West Virginia and the 2019/20 season will kick off soon after that.