On November 18-20, 2011, Abu Dhabi will play host to the 8th annual World Robot Olympiad (WRO). World Robot Olympiad is an event where teams of three students, guided by their teachers and coaches, create, design and build robot models using LEGO Mindstorm NXT that compete in one of three competition categories. This year they anticipate over 35 countries and over 13,000 teams from around the world will take part in WRO activities. However according to the website the United States will not be among the participating countries.
We found this quite surprising considering the high amount of interest in LEGO Robotic education and the high levels of participation nationwide in FIRST LEGO Leagues. We hope this is not another indicator of why the United States’ position as a leader in technology and education is being challenged. This event is highly competitive and many of the students for the WRO will have had to compete in various qualifying stages before they can be selected to participate in the 2011 WRO final. Also, many of the students will have had to also compete in various local, regional, and national competitions before even qualifying to attend the WRO.
While saddened that students from the United States will not be represented at this exciting event, we are pleased to see such global events exist. Events such as this give students throughout the world a chance to apply their knowledge in science, engineering, math, and computer programming. Because, we believe solving robotic challenges such as those offered by the World Robot Olympiad builds innovation, creativity and problem solving skills in students. It also give students a great opportunity to work together as a team and have fun while learning, something we stress in all of our day camps.