K-12 Schools

AARNet drives STEM with World robotics win for Australia

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An AARNet-sponsored team of high school students won a top spot in the inaugural Australia Regional FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition (FRC®) hosted by Macquarie University at Sydney Olympic Park on Saturday 14 March, 2015.

The team, the Red Crusade from Barker College, joined forces with Curtin University and Macquarie University teams to form one of the two Alliances (consisting of three robots each) competing in the Final of the weekend’s RECYCLE RUSH recycled-themed game.

As the highest scoring robot in the competition and winner of the Innovative Control Award for the quality of their robot’s electronics and control system, the Barker/AARNet team qualified to represent Australia at the FRC World Championships in St Louis next month. They will accompany the team from Macquarie University, whose robot also earned a spot in the World Championships.

AARNet CEO Chris Hancock says AARNet is committed to supporting programs that inspire young people to pursue studies in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) at a tertiary level.

“We know the STEM skills shortage is a real threat to Australia’s prosperity. It’s time to join forces and take action to ensure the next generation is equipped with the STEM skills they need to power the workforce and drive innovation and economic growth. This FIRST Robotics competition is a great example of tech companies and universities stepping up and doing just that.”

AARNet, Google and Ford were among the tech companies participating, along with universities and schools from around Australia and the Asia Pacific.

In addition to contributing funds, AARNet staff volunteered as mentors, working with students through the fast-paced six-week design, build and programming phase that culminated in the team’s success in the competition battles on the weekend. Mentoring and support for the team will continue through the FRC World Championship.

AARNet support for the Australia Regional FRC this year also included hosting a virtual mentoring session and organising broadband connectivity to the Sydney Olympic Park Sports Stadium to enable livestreaming.

Watch this short video showing the Barker College team building their robot:

About FIRST Robotics

Founded in the USA in 1989, FIRST Australia was established at Macquarie University in 2006. Since then, FIRST Australia has partnered with schools and universities across Australia with teams and competitions held in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth.

Australian teams have enjoyed remarkable success at the FIRST World Championship Tournament each year since 2006.

Find out how to get your school involved in the FIRST Robotics Competition

Find out more about STEM@AARNet

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