Thirty seven teachers and students at high schools across the Federated States of Micronesia have earned certification in robotics operation and instruction.

The Robo Certification Challenge was opened by Habele Outer Island Education Fund in December of 2020, offering participating high schools the opportunity to advance their understanding of robotics, and earn cutting edge equipment for their robotics clubs.

The challenge consisted of completing a free, online certification course of about twenty hours of material, and passing a test on the the information learned. The remote robotics course requires no background in the subject, and covers basic robotics concepts, construction, programming, and instruction of others in the material. The course was made available to all staff and students at high schools participating in the Habele Robo League.

The first four high schools to have both a teacher and student earn certification were awarded a state-of-the-art 3D printer for their robotics club. Laptops were awarded to the first teacher to obtain certification, as well as the first students in grades 9-12 who earned the certificate.

Between December 2020 and the close of the Certification Challenge in March of 2021, six schools across three FSM states had thirty-seven teachers and students certified. The four high schools winning the grand prize of a 3D printer were Yap Catholic High School, Our Lady of Mercy Catholic High School, Pohnpei Catholic School, and PICS High School. An honorable mention goes to Akoyikoyi School in Chuuk, who – while not a high school – had an eighth grader and teacher both earn certification.

“Schools are taking advantage of creative ways to expand their students knowledge,” says Matt Coleman of Habele. “This challenge meshed remote instruction with new material, and gave students in island classrooms another tool in learning how to train their peers.”

The Certification Challenge is the latest adaptation and evolution of Habele’s FSM-wide high school robotics league. Established in 2011, Habele Robo provides hands-on STEM learning that excites students about real world application of math and science.

“This has been a challenging year for schools in Micronesia, but Habele has been with us every step of the way, says Russell Figueras of OLMCHS. “From donations of campus networking equipment, to online technical instruction, Habele has helped us empower classroom instruction during a time of uncertainty for our school’s operations.”

Habele is a registered nonprofit founded by Peace Corps volunteers serving in Micronesia.

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