Building Robots With Mr. SamoOctober 23, 2019 1:19 pm
Mr. Samo is the Dean of Students at the Joseph and Mary schools at our Kitongo Campus. Mr. Samo has been supervising the after school programs where our students get the opportunity to play games, study and learn about robots! Here is a interview with Mr. Samo about his new club and how he envisions its potential benefit for our students and all Tanzanians.
Imagine building a robot that has the ability to fish for us! This is one of Mr. Samo’s eager dreams for our robotics club here at Mainsprings. Although he expressed this to me in a half- joking matter, what Mr. Samo was saying is very critical; being able to build robots that are relevant to our environment and context here at Mainsprings and in Tanzania would be groundbreaking.
It has been about a year since robotics was introduced at our Kitongo campus. Last year a group of individuals from the United States came to Mainsprings with the knowledge and tools for robotics education, which they readily shared with us. Ever since, robotics has evolved from the classrooms to an afterschool club that our upper grade classes are able to partake in. Mr. Samo, as head of afterschool activities at our Kitongo campus, oversees the robotics clubs with our students. So, I sat down with him to see how far along we were in constructing our fishing robot.
After we discussed the inception of robotics at Mainsprings, I asked Mr. Samo what he enjoys the most about teaching robotics. He answered candidly, “I am a person who likes to prepare students to meet their future.” Robotics is the future. As the world is becoming increasingly technological, Mr. Samo believes, as we all do at Mainsprings, that it is important to prepare our students to contribute to this evolving world. Robotics is truly an interdisciplinary field; our students are learning about engineering, science, computer science and others. They are able to develop problem-solving skills and think in a more innovative way. Most importantly, too, they are having a lot of fun doing it.
When robotics was first introduced at Mainspring our students were confused and skeptical. They thought it was a sophisticated foreign skill not meant for them, explained Mr. Samo. However, as they first attempted, failed, tried again, and again, ultimately they succeeded. Our students were able to see that it is possible for them to partake in robotics. This was a valuable lesson for them; they are capable of many things beyond their imagination. First they simply have to try, and possibly try again.
As we build our robots, we are still building our own knowledge. This club, as for anything, does not come without its own challenges. As it is often said in Tanzania, “muda sio rafiki,” time is not your friend. Building a robot, as one can imagine, is not a quick task. We are still trying to find ways to allocate more time for the students in the robotics clubs within their already busy schedule. Furthermore, the technological world moves fast and sometimes we find ourselves still trying to catch up. Mr. Samo explains how even as a teacher he could still benefit from further training and knowledge to better assist the students.
For the future of the robotics club at Mainsprings, Mr. Samo exclaims that he would like our Joseph and Mary school to be the best in the district, region, and nation! He wants our students to partake in robotics competitions throughout the region and continue to build the blocks of their future.
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This post was written by Mainsprings