Virtual Botball Academy
Infosys Foundation USA and KISS Institute for Practical Robotics are proud to offer this opportunity for teachers and students.

This grant will fund the participation of 100 educators and 400 student seats in the Virtual Botball Academy. Preference will be given to Title I schools with a focus on underrepresented students especially rural and Native American to participate in the program.

The Virtual Botball Academy was developed to support Computer Science, Junior Botball Challenge, and Botball educators who are now working with their students virtually due to the pandemic. The virtual tools can be used for virtual, hybrid or traditional model and include a robot simulator, online integrated development environment and accompanying curriculum.

Virtual Botball Academy impacts students starting at an early age and extends through high school.
It provides a virtual platform, curriculum and professional development to elementary, middle school, and high school educators (2nd-12th) to enable them to teach their students to write computer code (C and Python languages) coupled with real-life applications of the engineering design process. The curriculum is aligned to CSTA, ISTE, Common Core math and Next Generation Science standards. The inquiry-based program focuses on discrete programming skills, computer science principles and engineering design concepts designed to improve computational thinking skills and promote mastery.

The grant will provide:
• 4-hour professional development workshop for the educators, along with on-going support.
• Easy to follow curriculum
• Activity Based assessments
• Provide annual access for teacher and up to four of their students to participate in the virtual program. (If a school wants to increase the number of students participating, they can use Donors Choose or similar to raise the additional $7/seat per student).

Requirements:
• Teacher must attend at least one 4-hour virtual workshop
• All participants (teacher and students) must take a pre and post survey
• Impact at least 4 students
• Implementing Virtual Botball Academy must address one or all of the following:
Title 1, Rural, Girls, Native American


Why Virtual Botball Academy?
There is a wealth of material documenting the alarming lack of underrepresented students in STEM and computer science. One successful solution is to inspire the students through participation in a robotics program that has a focus on computer science coupled with engineering.

There are many robotics programs available to schools, but often due to expense, time constraints and lack of expertise they are largely extracurricular, outside mentor dependent, and have to limit the number of students they can impact. Additionally, most of these programs do not have a focus on Computer Science concepts.

Many students are not aware of the field of computer science its ties to engineering and its implications to possible careers and society in general. It is hard to get students into this pipeline when they have not been exposed to the possibilities at an early age. This is compounded by the fact that many elementary and middle-school teachers have zero experience teaching CS and engineering concepts and very little time left in their day to do so if it is not integrated into their current math and science standards.
There is also concern about not only this general deficit of students in the “pipeline”, but there is an alarming lack of women and underrepresented groups pursuing these careers. This often leaves CS as a G & T program, robotics team or as an extra-curricular add-on activity, which has been shown to be largely inaccessible to poor and working-class families due to the need for transportation, presence of fees, and other expectations that are unreasonable for families of limited means.

To provide these opportunities to all students, our program addresses these issues by specifically targeting elementary and middle school educators with little or no experience teaching these concepts and improves their self-efficacy by providing autonomous robotics equipment, professional development, standards aligned curriculum and ongoing support. The curriculum provides implementation strategies as well as CS, science and math content.
This strategy is working as we have 53% of our programs being implemented in class by educators with zero or little experience with computer science and engineering content reaching a student demographic that mirror the school population in ethnicity and gender.

Program post participation survey results indicate teacher self-efficacy in teaching these concepts increases. Outside evaluation indicates an increase in STEM identity and self- efficacy in both male and female participants as well as an improvement in CS and CS career awareness and interest.
Email address *
By submitting this application and checking the below boxes our school agrees to the grant requirements. *
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Tell us about the students you will be impacting. Select as many as applicable. *
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What grade(s) will you focus on? *
Have you previously participated in Botball, Junior Botball, or the Virtual Botball Academy? *
Have you had any experience teaching coding? *
Implementing Teacher's Name *
Implementing Teacher's Email *
Principal's Name *
Principal's Email *
School Name/ Address /Phone number *
The applicant of this form agrees that both the teacher and principal are aware of this grant application requirements. *
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Are you able to attend one of the workshops? November 7, 2020 a.m., December 8, 2020 evening, December 12, 2020 a.m., Spring 2021 TBA *
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