School for at-risk youth using robotics in the classroom

Medford, Ore. – Robots are taking over Medford Opportunity School, a school for at-risk students.

Michael Torguson, a teacher at the school,  received a grant in March to increase robotics studies in his classrooms, and he believes that this addition to the curriculum is changing the way his students look at learning.

“I wrote a grant to the trailblazer foundation asking for $5,100, so that robots could invade a high risk classroom and I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords,” Torguson said.

Torguson has been teaching at the school for five years.

“My kids are kids who have discipline issues who have attendance issues who may have legal issues, who have been expelled from their home schools either the junior high or the high schools. So, they need to come to me because the district is still legally obligated to provide education,” he said.

He believes that through robotics the students are learning skills they can take outside of the classroom, and they are starting to enjoy learning.

“What I’m trying to say is: you can learn this. It is a life skill, it is something that is applicable out in the world of work or the world of everything out there. All you’ve got to do is commit to the process, follow the steps,” he said.

Through the grant, he was able to buy 12 new robots for his classroom. He says the robots are already bringing the students together.

“If you have multiple kids working on the same project at the same time, they not only are going to be working on the robots. They’re going to be collaborating, they’re going to be helping each other learn which is golden,” he said.

Torguson says he hopes to expand his program beyond the Medford Opportunity School and bring it to other schools for kids who struggle to enjoy learning.

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