Brooklyn Robot Foundry
The Brooklyn Robot Foundry (BRF) is a non-formal educational program whose mission it is to introduce children and adults to robotics through building. The BRF provides a value-added educational program for school field trips, home school gatherings, and teacher training. Self-contained classes in robot making are available. The BRF menu also includes birthday parties.
The BRF is an example of STEM education infiltrating the students'
discretionary time. Robots are an object of fascination and clearly, the genesis and success of the BRF shows that there is enough interest in robot building for it to take root as a mainstream hobby or extra-curricular activity.
The Brooklyn Robot Foundry is a for-profit educational organization with locations in Brooklyn and Tribecca. The program is in its fourth year of operation.
The limitations of this enterprise are the same as those of any other for-profit venture, it needs to be profitable in order to survive. The quality of the projects, the ability of the instructors, and overall commitment to robotics are only as good as the leadership of the BRF can make them. BRF does not answer to an advisory board or board of directors. It does not have to comply with educational standards of any kind. This is a case of caveat emptor.
Robotics in STEM Education
Robots are inspiring (Fitzgerald, 2014) and for that reason among others robotics is finding its way into classrooms across the country. Of course engineering, design, and programming skills all benefit from this investment, but the simple fact is that robotics is one of the most intriguing ways to package those studies. In addition to the science, there is also the aesthetic and creative appeal in designing a robot.