Help Request from First Lego League Team

I received this email from a local First Lego League (FLL) team in Arroyo Grande.

If you have an interest in STEM education or knowledge of tutoring systems I am sure they would appreciate the input.  Because these are kids I am not going to post the email contact but you can reach out to me at bob@smsrd.com and I can connect you to the group.

Here is the entire email from the team:

Hi Mr Dumouchel

We are the Pop Tart Uni Kitties FLL team #1512 and we are working on our project for this year’s challenge “World Class Learning Unleashed.”  We want to make learning Math skills and processes easier and having access to learning 24 7 in different formats and approaches using different modalities than we have in our classrooms could do this.

We were inquiring if you thought that an interactive program or app would be worthwhile to write that could be used by the school districts  for tutoring students (and rehabilitation facilities for patients after brain injuries or strokes.) In approaching our school district and a few other teachers around we know that it would have to be secure, so that could be safe and controlled within a districts, schools or facilities with sign ins necessary. Admittedly we don’t have the first idea on how to even approach writing an program or application but figured we needed to find out how people thought that were involved in making things happen in our technological world these days right here on our central coast.

We do know that math skills are the basis for most of the technological jobs in today’s world and it is necessary to learn and retain these skills. We ourselves are all too much aware that learning them can be a problem, let alone remembering them after they are learned. Not all school districts use the same books or classrooms the same approach even though math skills are very much the same over and over and build on each other, so if you miss or dont understand a section you can get lost very easily. Some teachers use peer to peer tutors classrooms and this is much of the idea that has inspired our idea. It is positive and dosn’t take away from the limited time in the classroom or education day. Being peer to peer it is positive in nature not singling out students for “stupid kid” tutoring before or after school or during recesses to learn. These days we as students have multifunctional and active lives and our idea would take advantage of the extended day and busy schedules for learning

Our idea is affectionately called “Tutor Time” and we envision that the program would be a hybrid of the many web sites offering help in MAth and a skype, but directed to math skills and procedures only. We would want to take advantage of the basic three ways people learn Hands On, Verbal and Visual within the context of the site. Having per-recorded “tutor” sections of rote memory and a full range of basic math stepped skill sections from basic addition & subtraction on through geometry and algebra for students to go over at own pace to learn or refresh learning for those who are verbal learners. Then have somewhat of the same “tutor” sections in worksheet type formats and skill sections done step by step for rote memory for visual learners. Then for hands on learners much the same for visual but more sectional “to do” self paced worksheets that involve inactive use of counters and or on screen drawing to adapt the system for the hands on learners. We think that all these rote memory and skill sections should be organized and cross referenced in a data base for easy reference.

We would also want a real time access to “tutors” to answer questions. We do know that this part of our application or program could not be 24 7 but want to work it so it could be afternoon and evening hours at least while students do no have access to the teachers while doing homework. Our idea is to use students, older ones that have successfully passed the classes or skill sections and even grade level ones with clearance from their teachers, that would have to sign up. They could earn math credits or work experience for the time they spend helping other students that would have to be worked out per district, school or facility. This would enable the students that are tutoring to strengthen thier skills while the tutored student gain the skills. Teachers could also be involved and other adult volunteers who are kid safe could be too.

Well that is our idea more or less in a nut shell. What do you think?

Do you have any ideas or suggestions to help us develop this further?
Do you know anyone in our area that may have ideas to help us?

Thank you for your time

Sincerely

The Pop Tart Uni Kitties

Kaitlyn, Samantha, Kaillani, Sydnee, Hannah and Aubrey

Update July 2014

If you missed last night’s Open House hosted by our friends at IQMS then you missed a great networking opportunity. We got an insider’s peek at their new building on the growing IQMS campus.  This is a beautiful building thatIQMS is working hard to fill with professionals that will support their growing customer base of Manufacturers.

Randy Flamm, CEO of IQMS, gave us an update since our last visit and his long term vision of a six building campus. There is no doubt that IQMS is a world-class organization that competes at a global level, while living on the Central Coast. Softec would like to wish Randy, Nancy, and the entire IQMS team continued success.

Nicole Smith from IQMS gave us a tour of the building and explained the logic in the design and a little bit of insight into the IQMS culture. There is a reason that they are so successful and it starts with their team and their culture. Softec had the privilege of an open house when they opened their first building and now we are looking forward to buildings 3 & 4.

RRM LogoThe building was designed by RRM Design group and is a perfect fit for the mission and culture ofIQMS. I have had the privilege of seeing several projects by RRM and they do truly create environments that people enjoy and the newIQMS building certainly exceeds that standard.

I would like to give Nicole Smith a big shout out on this event because she is the person that did most of the heavy lifting and like most of her work – it was flawless. Nicole has been a Softec Board Member for several years and serves as our VP of Marketing. Nicole brings to us innovation, creativity, and a get-er-done approach to our communications. We appreciate her efforts on this and other events and deeply appreciate IQMS supporting her service on our board.

Softec welcomes a new Partner Level Sponsor
MINDBODY is one of the leading technology businesses in the region and so we are excited to announce that they are now a Partner Level Softec Sponsor – our highest level of sponsorship. Their support, and the support of our other sponsors, makes it possible for Softec to advocate for the technology industry and pursue our mission of creating Softec Moments. The Softec Board takes the responsibility of putting the support we receive to work in our community building and growing the technology industry as our primary mission.

Tech Brew
Josh Erdman. Softec VP of Beer & Snacks, from Tektegrity is working on the next Tech Brew. It will be an update from Tim Williams, CEO of Digital West, on the State of Fiber in SLO. Since high speed communications is critical to our tech businesses we are looking forward to this update. Remember the 2nd Monday at Pappy McGregors for a great networking event. The event is free and the connections you can create are priceless.

Save the Date: September 29, 2014 
Softec has been an advocate and sponsor of the local robotics teams since 2004 when we helped with the formation of the 2nd local robotics team – the AGHS Eagle Robotics. Robotic team competitions are the single largest item on the Softec budget. Last year we donated $5,000 to 9 different teams from Paso to Santa Maria and many of our members added to that. We believe at our core that mind-sports like Robotics are important to getting young minds excited about careers in technology. As a society we get what we celebrate. As an industry we chose to celebrate technology and what better way to do that than Robotic Competitions! Personally, I will be very happy when local robotics team competitions draw a bigger crowd than a Friday night football game – but that is just me – or is it?

Sincerely,

Bob Dumouchel
Bob Dumouchel
President