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A Father’s Perspective on Milo’s Life-Changing Potential

on May 29, 2019 11:09:26 AM By Terrance Pieres | 0 Comments | Parent Perspective Company Blog Robots4Autism ASD Autism Therapy
My 8-year-old daughter is currently being evaluated for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). I also have a nephew and cousins back home in England who are both on the spectrum. Robots4Autism (R4A) has unexpectedly become a resource for me to learn effective ways to interact meaningfully with my children. Tools such as Milo’s Calm Down Module have helped relax my daughter when she has had temper tantrums. Ultimately, R4A has helped shape me into a better father. Like so many other success stories I’ve heard, my story illustrates the impact that Milo can make on these children’s lives.
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Jett’s ready for school: Three lessons from a STEM robot

on May 29, 2019 7:26:00 AM By Jeff Goodman | 0 Comments | Robots4STEM coding
This week, we sent Jett off to school, and to commemorate the occasion, we’re sharing three lessons you can learn from Jett – a facially expressive, social, humanoid robot who aims to create a visual coding experience for young learners. These lessons transcend basic coding skills and lay the groundwork for life in a tech-savvy world.
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Computer science rises in popularity as national funding soars

on Jul 23, 2018 7:13:00 AM By Jeff Goodman | 0 Comments | Robots4STEM
Computer science rises in popularity as national funding soars
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STEM: The backbone of the DFW economy

on Jul 19, 2018 7:16:00 AM By Jeff Goodman | 0 Comments | Robots4STEM
The Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) “metroplex” area has been developing into a hub for tech excellence over the last decade, and the best is yet to come. This year Amazon named Dallas to its shortlist of candidates for HQ2, which could potentially bring tens of thousands of jobs to our city. And Amazon isn’t the only indicator that DFW is excelling in tech – last week business leaders from around the country gathered in Dallas to discuss how to support the city’s booming tech industry that continues to grow. Here are some of the main takeaways from the conference that emphasized STEM education:
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Robots are driving STEM ed to 2026 and beyond

on May 16, 2018 7:18:00 AM By Jeff Goodman | 0 Comments | Robots4STEM
By Dr. Gregory Firn, COO, robots4STEM
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To be or not to be: HQ2 and preparing Dallas for a potential STEM game-changer

on May 4, 2018 7:21:00 AM By Jeff Goodman | 0 Comments | Robots4STEM
By Dr. Gregory Firn, COO Dallas was recently named to Amazon’s shortlist as a candidate to host HQ2. Other promising cities fell off Amazon’s radar for many reasons, and this week, the company has started to debrief those cities on why they didn’t make the cut. A recurring theme? The lack of tech talent. One of Amazon’s main criteria for assessing its HQ2 bids was the location’s ability to attract and retain a robust workforce with technical skills, and Governor Greg Abbott stated that Dallas’ strong tech workforce was a reason for its place on the shortlist. Dallas has the capability to become a national hub for tech excellence, and our region’s school districts can help power this – with the right curriculum. If Amazon selects Dallas for its HQ2, tech jobs will multiply for decades to come. Even if Amazon chooses another city, our tech industry can continue to grow, as long as we have the talent to support it. As superintendents, principals and educators, we must begin to plan a strategic approach to preparing our students for these jobs of the future. We can start with placing an emphasis on STEM in early education, instead of waiting until high school, where it’s often too late to ignite a spark. As discovered in The Roots of STEM Success report, STEM thinking begins at infancy, and STEM skills are strengthened among children by play centered on self-direction and hands-on experience. To build the tech leaders of our future, educators should initiate STEM learning as early as possible. So what makes a successful STEM experience at an early age? A hands-on learning experience The best way to promote learner agency among students and engage them early on with STEM is by creating a hands-on learning experience. Co-authoring and co-creating is an essential component to building an environment that lets students explore STEM skills at their own pace and within their own interests. Lecturing can be an effective teaching strategy at times, but to really engage youth with STEM, they need to be involved as much as possible. It’s important for schools to invest in the tools that can provide this hands-on learning experience. Not only does edtech help educators keep students engaged, it also allows them to better integrate topics they may not have expertise in – which is the case for many teachers tasked with specialty areas like coding, that aren’t typically included in elementary training. STEM blended with mainstream subjects It’s common for most school curricula to focus heavily on reading, writing and other primary subjects in early education. These subjects are, of course, very important – but skills like coding shouldn’t be undervalued. The lessons learned from coding – collaboration, creativity, communication and computational and critical thinking – transcend the discipline and permeate into all areas of learning. Making real-life connections Like adults, even young children look for meaning behind things. They want to feel as though what they’re working toward matters. STEM certainly matters – especially right now in Dallas – but do students know how much? Can students connect what they’re learning to future jobs, their community and other concrete things? Help students make these connections by highlighting interesting STEM jobs, explaining what Amazon HQ2 and other tech companies mean to Dallas and emphasizing the difference they can make in their own lives and communities by pursuing STEM education. STEM is the future for Dallas As the competition for Amazon’s HQ2 intensifies, one thing is certain: cities with tech talent have a big advantage in today’s world. Dallas can continue to establish itself as a leader in the tech realm by supporting STEM education – to prepare the future workforce, offer children a chance for high-paying, rewarding jobs, and to attract the companies who will change the world. Robots4STEM is an approved vendor of Dallas Independent School District (DISD), and our curriculum is directly aligned with K-12 Computer Science (K12CS) standards. Learn how robots4STEM can help prepare the students of Dallas for the jobs of tomorrow here.   News More than 40 new things we saw at ISTE 2018 Monday at ISTE 2018: Neuroscience, ed leader standards and student data privacy Press Releases Computer science rises in popularity as national funding soars
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Three things we learned from Tim Cook’s Recode interview

on Apr 27, 2018 7:24:00 AM By Jeff Goodman | 0 Comments | Robots4STEM
Earlier this month, Apple CEO Tim Cook sat down with Recode’s Kara Swisher to discuss some of the nation’s most urgent issues: job creation and education. We tuned in to hear what one of the most influential CEOs in the world had to say about Apple’s social responsibility to promote and spread access to coding education for students across the country.
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Supreme Court Expands Rights of Special Education Students

on Feb 20, 2018 6:00:00 PM By Jeff Goodman | 0 Comments | Company Blog
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a unanimous decision on March 21, 2017, that schools must do more than provide a “merely more than de minimus” education program for students with disabilities. THE RULING The decision is the result of a case known as Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District in which the parents of a Colorado boy with autism sued their school district. After spending four years in the district, the boy’s parents felt his progress had stalled–his IEP goals and objectives were largely carried over from year to year. The parents then placed their son in a private school and sought reimbursement. In his ruling, Chief Justice John G. Roberts wrote, “Within months, Endrew’s behavior improved significantly, permitting him to make a degree of academic progress that had eluded him in public school.”The case had been previously rejected by an administrative law judge, a federal district court, and the 10th Circuit before going before the U.S. Supreme Court, which sided with the family. “When all is said and done, a student offered an educational program providing a ‘merely more than de minimis’ progress from year to year can hardly be said to have been offered an education at all,” wrote Justice Roberts. “For children with disabilities, receiving instruction that aims so low would be tantamount to ‘sitting idly … awaiting the time when they were old enough to drop out,’” he added, quoting from key 1982 Supreme Court precedent on special education, Board of Education of the Hendrick Hudson Central School District v. Rowley, that also dealt with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. “The IDEA demands more,” the chief justice said. “It requires an educational program reasonably calculated to enable a child to make progress appropriate in light of the child’s circumstances.” WHAT IT MEANS The SCOTUS ruling provides a tremendous opportunity for schools and school systems to be proactive in providing programming that can and will significantly reduce or avoid costs associated with meeting the needs of ASD learners. The ruling also calls into question the level, depth, and objectives of IEP goals with respect to educational attainment, progress, and improvement. Simply put, such goals and those actions, strategies, and learning activities cannot be of the lowest standard. Rather, IEP-supported students must have services of a higher standard to ensure they are, in fact, progressing in their education. The impact of Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District may be significant if schools do not seize the opportunity to adjust, amend, or add services that will reduce the number of requests by parents to have their ASD learner attend private or specialty schools to have their educational needs met. Lastly, the burden is on the schools to demonstrate they have, in practice, programming that authentically meets the needs of the ASD learner.
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The education journey: Why educators should focus on the process of learning

on Feb 12, 2018 7:28:00 AM By Jeff Goodman | 0 Comments | Robots4STEM
By Dr. Gregory Firn, COO
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The Game Changing Power of Robotics and Social-Emotional Learning

on Feb 8, 2018 6:00:00 PM By Jeff Goodman | 0 Comments | Company Blog
By: Fred Margolin Every day, about 100 people are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in the United States. Studies indicate that this costs the U.S. over $238 billion per year, with a projection of about $1 trillion annually by 2025. While ASD does not have a known cure, children with the disorder have demonstrated significant improvement when receiving an early diagnosis and effective intervention. Research shows that children with ASD find robots incredibly engaging, and are more comfortable interacting with robots than they are with people. Introducing Milo After seeing the research supporting robots and autism, we saw the perfect opportunity to leverage this connection, and to fill a real need in the education industry. We recognized the lack of cohesive content curriculum to accompany robots. Our vision was to create a robot that could serve as a platform to deliver content to students with ASD. We spent years making the technical breakthroughs necessary to reach a price point that public schools could afford. The result wasMilo, our 2-foot-tall humanoid robot. He walks, talks (82% slower than normal speech), and models human facial expressions. With the corresponding Robots4Autism content course, students ages 5–17 with ASD learn a variety of skills, like tuning in on emotions, expressing empathy, and how to act appropriately in social situations. Milo is the patient and understanding teacher children with ASD need. Since he is a robot, he never gets tired or impatient, and can repeat lessons as often as the student needs. Many students see Milo as their friend, in some cases he is the first friend they’d ever had. Children with ASD vary widely in intelligence and ability, and Milo is able to assist and engage with students who are on any part of the spectrum. His approach focuses on encouraging children to want to make progress, rather than imposing the behavior on them. Incredible results Children with ASD can have tantrums several times a day. This angry or frustrated behavior will typically stop once the child is removed from the classroom. With Milo, we’re seeing kids learning to calm themselves down on their own, without teacher intervention. Often times, those with ASD live inside their head. They spend a lot of time trying to block out outside interaction that they find overstimulating. Many educators, when beginning their adoption of the Robots4Autism curriculum, start these students on the Calm Down module, which gives students the tools to deal with overstimulation in constructive ways. Currently, Milo is in nearly 400 schools, and we have seen emotional progress in 2–3 months that in some cases can take years to occur. It truly changes the entire classroom atmosphere. At Robots4Autism, we’re not just selling robots. We’re offering schools and teachers an opportunity to reach children with ASD more effectively than they ever have before, and providing students with ASD a way to connect with the world around them. Fred Margolin is the co-founder of RoboKind with a background in finance and insurance. His position centers around creating marketing strategies for the public to use and continuing to expand Milo’s impact on children with autism spectrum disorder.
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