Dare to Dream and Swerve Robotics Conclude First Lego League (FLL) Training of Trainers in Botswana

Botswana Digital & Innovation Hub (BD&IH) 's outreach partner, Dare to Dream, together with Swerve Robotics from the USA, successfully concluded a three-day comprehensive training programme for teachers in the southern region of Botswana. The programme, known as First Lego League (FLL) Training of Trainers, most recently took place from Monday 10th to Wednesday 12th July 2023 at the BDIH Training Room.

The three-day training programme was aimed at equipping educators with the necessary skills and knowledge to establish robotics and coding clubs, as well as guiding students in participating in both local and international FIRST LEGO League (FLL) competitions. Teachers from Mahupu Unified School, Matsha College, Lobatse Senior School, Mogoditshane Junior School, Kgale Hill School, and Mmakgori Primary School actively participated in the training.

Captain Kgomotso Phatsimo, the Founder of Dare to Dream, expressed her delight with the impressive turnout, stating, "We are delighted with the turnout and anticipate that soon schools in Gaborone and its surrounding areas, as well as the Ngamiland region, will begin to see a shift towards the formation of robotics and coding clubs. This will result in an increased presence of local teams in FLL competitions. It is our belief that this initiative will contribute to building a tech-savvy Botswana."

Prior to the Gaborone-based FLL Training of Trainers, Dare to Dream and Swerve Robotics launched the FLL initiative in the Ngamiland region from Monday 3rd to Wednesday 5th of July 2023, with the aim to equip educators in that region to be able to transfer skills to students. The participating schools were Sedie Junior School, Moeti Junior School, Tshwaragano Junior School, and Maitlamo Junior School.

The FIRST LEGO League (FLL) is a renowned robotics competition designed for students aged 9 to 16. It encourages participants to apply concepts and principles of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) to real-world challenges. Through FLL, students collaborate in teams to design, build, and program autonomous robots using LEGO Mindstorms kits. The competition also includes a research project component, which encourages students to identify and propose solutions to real-life problems.

Swerve Robotics, established in 2006 with a mission to promote STEM through FIRST Robotics programs, partnered with Dare to Dream to support the youth in Botswana. Heidi Lovett, the Founder of Swerve Robotics, emphasised their shared vision of inspiring young minds to embrace technology and innovation. Lovett stated, "We have a mutual vision of inspiring young minds to embrace technology and innovation, and this partnership represents our commitment to nurturing the next generation of engineers, scientists, and inventors in Botswana."

The three-day programme features a range of activities, including training of trainers, robotic games, innovation project presentations, and awarding of certificates. As a result, teachers from the participating schools will now begin preparing their students in coding and robotics to participate in the FIRST LEGO League (FLL) competitions scheduled for October 2023.

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