World ORT-affiliated Misgav High School once again stands on top of the world following a stunning performance at the Fire Fighting Home Robot Contest at Trinity College in Connecticut.
Teams from the Israeli school won first and third positions in the unique design category of the high school division of the competition, in which 29 teams from China, the USA and other countries took part, and second and third places in the “knowledge Olympiad”? which tests theoretical knowhow. “This year saw our largest contingent in more than a decade; nearly 130 teams representing seven countries and 13 states in what has been recognized by Forbes.com as among the world’s top five robotics competitions. To finish first and third in the face of such tough competition is pretty incredible,”? said a Trinity College spokesperson.
Misgav is no stranger to robotics success: its teams have repeatedly won at Trinity College five times in the past eight years, each time with the scent of victory still in their nostrils from the national Israeli equivalent, known as Roboner. There are hopes that its prowess will encourage donors to provide the $56,000 needed to establish an advance robotics laboratory at the school, part of World ORT’s “High Five”? program to provide essential pedagogical support to Israeli schools.
“We appreciate how World ORT has helped us to improve conditions,”? Misgav Principal Amir Michael said. “Our pupils and teachers have the spirit to success but it’s not enough “ﾓ you need equipment. Our laboratories are outmoded. With further investment in a new, improved laboratory, we would be able to raise standards even higher.”?
This year, Misgav won Roboner with “The Doctor”?, which went on to win at Trinity College; its stablemate, “Sami”?, coming in third. Unlike many robots used at this level of education, both robots were designed and built from scratch rather than programmable kits.
The 11 th and 12 th graders had to make and program a robot which could detect fires and bring them under control quickly: responding to a sound, like a smoke alarm, their creation had to find its way through a maze-like mock-up of an apartment with uneven floors to find a candle, extinguish the flame and return to the starting line.
The Misgav teams’ coach, Chaim Dribin, received World ORT’s Hatter Prize in 2010 for his contribution to the creation and leadership of the school’s exceptional electronics and mechatronics tracks.
He said: “Students learn a lot during the building of the robots and they don’t mind working so hard and for so many hours. It’s very important to give them this opportunity for practical and experiential learning “ﾓ theoretical learning is not enough.”?
His colleague, Innovation Leader Danny Ovadia, added: “This is very good news for us as we enter the Pesach holiday. Success like this motivates students to achieve more success, not only in robotics but in other subjects as well. They see that by putting in hard work they can succeed at anything.”?
And the winning teams could expect to receive the kind of respect normally reserved for sporting heroes, he continued.
“They get treated like basketball players do in America! Because of their victories and the respect that they get, our youngest students want to learn technology. So we have children learning the subject from the seventh grade,”? said Mr Ovadia.
“People complain about students not being motivated and not learning enough, that they spend their time watching TV and playing on the computer, but here we have kids spending every spare moment on technological projects.”?
World ORT Director General and CEO Robert Singer said Misgav was an inspiration to everyone committed to the organization’s work in Israel.
“Since 2007, World ORT has worked directly with schools in Israel’s relatively disadvantaged communities to help them achieve excellence in scientific and technological studies which are so important nowadays for individual and national success. Thanks to the critical cooperation of our partners in local and national government, the generous support of our donors and the skill and hard work of teachers, World ORT has raised educational achievement and expectations. It is exciting to think how much more our affiliates, like Misgav, will be able to achieve in the years ahead as we continue to invest in them,”? Mr Singer said.