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May 3, 2015

Alachua Robotics Institute

by Brendan

Ran into an old friend named Tim in the grocery store yesterday — he used to be my next-door neighbor when I lived up the road in a small town north of Gainesville.  He teaches middle-school math up there and regularly (like, 2 or 3 times) has won the Teacher of the Year Award for Alachua County.  (He also plays guitar and watches lots of interesting movies on Blue Ray.)

Tim told me that in the next year of so, his school and perhaps all Alachua County middle schools will start teaching Robotics as part of math classes — students will actually participate in building robots.  He’s excited that this will excite students, will give them a usable skill, will show them that math does indeed have real-world applications.  I’m excited, too, and happy to hear that our new Superintendent of schools is a forward-looking as he’s seemed to be in the year he’s been in charge.

Robot Dog

Robot Dog

When I was teaching English classes at Santa Fe College, I had a student named Chris who was bright, eccentric, a bit of a Goth (had a lotta Goth students, once word got around that I didn’t disapprove).  Chris was more interested in art than English, though he did all right (his older sister was a little bit better).  He learned to do tattooing — as a business opportunity as well as an art project (and one of my tattoos is his creation\application).

I kept up with Chris after he graduated and enrolled in University of Florida, also here in Gainesville.  Over the years, he taught himself robotics — I’d stop by his house and there would be mechanical creatures scurrying around the house.  This led to a lucrative job with a robotics company out west, Colorado or Arizona.

Lost touch with Chris, but can’t wait for Tim’s new Robotics Institute to come into being — he told me that the story should hit the media in the next few weeks or months.

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