Open Letter to Parents

Parents,

What if you could somehow ensure that in the future, your kids would have careers that are meaningful, enjoyable, challenging, and engaging?  What would that be worth to you?

What if I told you that your child’s school isn’t teaching the STEM-related material and innovative problem-solving skills that are essential to obtaining these careers in emerging tech industries?  Or perhaps they are teaching the material, but your child doesn’t care and isn’t involved.

The state is aware that the tech market is becoming more competitive each year, but is also slow-moving to adapt its educational apparatus to that purpose.  Our leaders at the top may have good intentions, but those intentions often become watered-down and distorted as they filter through the bureaucracy.  Not only this, but any meaningful change as a response to competition can be difficult to initiate in certain unionized industries that are shielded from global competition.

Please don’t misinterpret this; I absolutely admire educators in public schools — my mother is a high school physics teacher in South Florida.  They often do amazing work in spite of their constraints, but your child’s future is too important for us to stand by and wait for the state to work out its issues.

This is why I believe that a more independent, individualized approach to education is essential.  Specifically, an approach that is both challenging and engaging.  That’s why I put together this robotics program.  I started to consider the idea of a robotics curriculum while I was teaching in Winter Park at a small private school for special-needs children.  My students were often bored and difficult to motivate, and traditional incentives like grades were completely useless here.

Then, a good friend of mine lent me a Lego Mindstorms NXT 2.0 robotics kit, which I brought to class.  The results were astounding.  Kids that were struggling with basic math were now actively involved in programming, developing flow-charts, following instructions, and thinking logically.  I soon realized that if this approach worked for kids who were typically distracted and unmotivated, I can only imagine the heights that more disciplined students could reach.

My curriculum was developed with material from CMU’s Robotics Academy and TTU’s T-STEM Center.  Please refer to these two documents for more detailed information on how robotics achieves the kind of results that you want.

How Robotics Achieves Outcomes

STEM Lessons Taught using Robotics

Thanks for reading, and I hope you decide to register and join us!

Sincerely,

~ John

 

John Koutsoyannis is a 34 year old technology entrepreneur, and holds bachelor’s degrees in both computer and electrical engineering.  He is a Florida native who grew up in Coral Springs, and currently lives in Orlando with his wife, Clara, and their children, Daniel (3) and Isabella (1).

He has worked extensively with robotics during his undergraduate electrical engineering years, and recently began using it in education as a way to motivate kids to learn STEM-related subjects.