Meet the Ambassador – Annie Schmitt
The UBTECH Education Teacher Ambassador Program is comprised of passionate and community-driven educators committed to helping shape the leaders and changemakers of tomorrow. Ambassadors share our vision of creating a generation of kids who are excited and curious about STEM topics, knowledgeable working with robotics, coding, and artificial intelligence, and are prepared to enter a […]
The UBTECH Education Teacher Ambassador Program is comprised of passionate and community-driven educators committed to helping shape the leaders and changemakers of tomorrow. Ambassadors share our vision of creating a generation of kids who are excited and curious about STEM topics, knowledgeable working with robotics, coding, and artificial intelligence, and are prepared to enter a workforce increasingly in need of 21st-century skills.
Get to know our ambassadors in the coming weeks as we share their stories of what inspired them to get involved in teaching robotics and STEM.
This week’s profile features Annie Schmitt, a STEM Educator & Teaching Artist in Erie, PA.
How did you first become exposed to robotics or STEM?
I was part of a girls in STEM initiative in high school and I had the opportunity to take a C++ class at a local university. I made simple games with my friends and it was a lot of fun!
What is your favorite thing about teaching robotics or STEM?
I love empowering students with coding and robotics and seeing the spark when their program comes to life. After they learn the basics, students can really create whatever they imagine!
How do you see robotics and STEM evolving over the next 5, 10, and 20 years?
I think robotics will become more and more ingrained in our daily lives, kind of like how computers are now. It won’t be unusual to have robots at home and work that help us with daily tasks.
What inspired you to become a teacher?
I really identify with kids who are bored with rote learning and worksheets. I want to create experiences where students are learning through creating, building, collaborating, problem solving, and having fun!
What do you think has changed the most about teaching since you first started compared to where you are in your teaching career now?
Coming from an environmental education background, when I started in the classroom I was a bit wary of integrating so much technology into my teaching. When I realized that technology as a creation tool is incredibly powerful, I started to use it consciously in ways that empower students to be creators, not just consumers.
What has been the most rewarding experience you’ve had as a result of teaching?
One of my most rewarding teaching experiences was developing a robotics and STEM class for sight-challenged students, some of whom were totally blind. Many of the students loved building with blocks and wanted to be able to know the color of the blocks they were using. As a class, we built and coded a robot that would announce what color their block was if they scanned it. I will never forget the smiles on their faces when we turned their robot on!
What advice would you give to those interested in pursuing teaching?
It is very rewarding and you get to use all of your creative faculties! If you are passionate about teaching, there are students out there that need your support. Find what you like teaching and keep strong boundaries to make sure you don’t get swallowed by the education system. There are many ways to teach, and not all are in a traditional classroom role.
Find Annie on LinkedIn.
To learn more about our Teacher Ambassador Program, visit the TAP page. Ambassadors work closely with the UBTECH Education team to test and develop curriculum activities using our UKITs. If you’re interested in bringing UKITs to your class or district, we’d love to chat.