Robots, drones, high-tech games show STEM career path to Camden students

CAMDEN, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — A special partnership that includes a robot is helping to bring technology skills education to an elementary school. It's part of a program aimed at getting kids ready for the real world.

On Wednesday, the life-size robot "introduced" itself to students at St. Joseph Pro-Cathedral School in Camden: "My name is CODE-E. I teach children and teachers about technology. I try to get them excited so that they can go into technological fields and change their communities for the better."

It's not everyday students at the school get to work with a robot. But CODE-E came with an army of wirelessly controlled drones and robo-spheres, and other high-tech devices.

"Some of the things they gave us, I didn't even know existed," 7th grader Isabel Perez-Reyes said. "So, I was very impressed with it. And just trying out the new coding stuff, and just how to use things, was very nice."

Because of a heart condition, Isabel has never been able to ride a roller coaster, but thanks to the virtual reality glasses CODE-E brought to the school, she got a glimpse of what it's like.

"It was nice to see how it kind of would be, like, to be someone who could go on roller coasters," she said.

The day's activites gave 7th grader Emily Nguyen a chance to explore a field that has long held her interest.

"It's really cool, because it's an experience that's new, and it's fun to do as well," Emily said. "I want to get into technology more when I'm done with school, so this is helping me get to that path."

"It's really important that our students understand these are possible careers for them, so they learn now, they get engaged now, and then they're able to continue this in high school," she said.

McGraw-Byrd says the partnership will result in more STEM in the curriculum. 

It's a curriculum that would help Isabel, who says she wants to pursue a career in coding.

"I would like to help more kids who have a condition like me or similar to be able to enjoy life," she said.

Also as part of that partnership, teachers will learn how to educate students about tech.