By Richard Buten, PhD – President, Board of Directors
Dear Supporters of Shoulder to Shoulder’s Educational Initiative:By way of introduction, I have been involved with Shoulder to Shoulder since 2001. In 2018, I became president of Board of Directors. I also sponsor the overall education program including our efforts in robotics.
In early 2017, Shoulder to Shoulder was contacted by FIRST to help them create a Honduran National Team for their new international robotics event. We were concerned that given the lack of overall technology exposure of the children from southern Intibucá, we would not be able to field a credible team. We tried unsuccessfully to partner with a private school in the capitol city, but they had no interest. So, we went ahead and got lucky in obtaining an experienced coach mentor, Alan Ostrow (a High School physics teacher from Philadelphia). With his help, the local math teacher coached our team to a 40th place finish in a field of 160+ teams.
In the 2018 global robotics competition, we did even better, placing 16th. See https://first.global/.
In parallel with the First Global effort, we began putting robotics into our bilingual school. Last year, we expanded Lego Robotics to three area high schools and held a “coopertition” among seven municipalities. We are expanding the robotics program to other schools in our service area where we can find local coaches willing to run the teams.
The robotics program falls within our emphasis on STEM. Also in this program is our project to deliver Khan Academy math and science first to our bilingual school and then to 23 additional schools in our service area. We are using technology from https://learningequality.org/kolibri that delivers Khan, CK-12, and other curriculum locally without internet. We are working to expand this program substantially this year and have recently obtained the Honduran textbooks in digital form.
In addition to our main web site, we also maintain another dedicated to the education efforts: http://hondurasrobot.org/. This contains more detail on robotics and other education technology efforts.
In closing, I want to thank you for your long-term significant support of education.
Very sincerely yours,