Meet the Ambassador – Brian Wetzel
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 Brian Wetzel, STEM Teacher at Centerburg High School (Centerburg, OH).
How did you first become exposed to robotics or STEM?
My first exposure was simply integrating technology into my math curriculum. Over the years, I transitioned into teaching STEM courses and began simple programming and robotics with UBTECH JIMU kits and Sphero robots.
What is your favorite thing about teaching robotics or STEM?
I love the Maker Education movement in general. I think students value and learn more through the things they create. I feel they are also more likely to remember these types of projects versus other traditional learning methods.
How do you see robotics and STEM evolving over the next 5, 10, and 20 years?
I feel robotics will further become primary tools in the workforce making computer science and coding them more important in educational environments. I also believe there will be further integration with artificial intelligence so that they are able to make choices based on patterns or other stimuli.
What inspired you to become a teacher?
My initial inspiration was helping fellow classmates in math classes. I led many study groups going into teaching was a logical path to me at the time. Seeing how effective integration of technology led to deeper learning, I transitioned to to teaching technology and exposing students to skills I feel they need or want over the course of many possible career pathways.
What do you think has changed the most about teaching since you first started compared to where you are in your teaching career now?
When I first started teaching, I was using SMART boards and other technologies to mainly teach and assess my students. In many ways, it was only a direct substitution of traditional methods. However, now technology is allowing us to let students show their understanding through digital tools. Rather than write a paper, students can now write an ebook or develop a website and still demonstrate the same capabilities and understandings.
What has been the most rewarding experience you’ve had as a result of teaching?
Seeing student success is definitely very rewarding but I also really love the opportunity to help other teachers. Knowing that I can lead a presentation and teachers will take things I’ve taught them through my experiences to help students I’ll likely never meet is very rewarding as well.
What advice would you give to those interested in pursuing teaching?
I would say “Never be afraid to be wrong in front of your students and never be afraid to say ‘I don’t know’. Like our students, all teachers should take advantage of learning opportunities. Especially with technology, we need to stay calm, and work with our students to seek out the answers we desire.
Follow Brian on Twitter.
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.