Robot Theater Summer Camp 2016

Using humanoid robots to teach computational thinking

Please see gallery below for program pictures.


Grades 6 through 8 (as of Spring 2016) - Residential Academic Program

Jun 19, 2016 - Jun 24, 2016 (All day - Sample Junior Scholars Institute day here)

Final Performance: Friday 6/24/16 11 am Belin-Blank Center, Room 140. Free and open to the public

Morning: Playwriting | Afternoon: Programming
On University of Iowa campus (MacLean Hall)

Learn about the theater through the eyes of adorable interactive humanoid Nao robots. There is only one set of Nao robots on the University of Iowa campus, and these delicate and valuable creatures are being made available for your study this summer! If you have written a script, story, or poem that you have been dreaming of seeing performed on stage, then this class is for you—the robots will be your performers. If you have an interest in robotics and want to work with sophisticated technology, then this class is for you—the robots will be your performers. Because theater performances are built by teams of individuals who bring different strengths to the theater group, this class is looking for students who are interested in developing their writing talents, but also welcomes students who don't see themselves as strong writers. Likewise, this class is looking for students who are interested in developing their programming skills, but also welcomes students who don't see themselves as computer programers. In this class, teams of students will work together to create a one-of- a-kind Robot Theater. Using a series of daily writing prompts, theatre games, dedicated in-class writing time, and programming workshops students will write a short monologue or scene that takes advantage of the capabilities of the robots. A final public performance will take place on the last day of class!

Instructor Bios:

Denise Szecsei holds a Ph.D in Mathematics and is passionate about the learning process. She has taught classes in computer science, mathematics, chemistry, and nuclear engineering. She loves to keep up with new technological developments, and incorporate new technology into her classes and research activities. She has been working with Nao Robots for two years, and has taught robot dance and theater classes to students with a variety of interests and backgrounds, and loves to see how people of all ages express themselves through these robots.

Jason Buehrer holds multiple Bachelor’s degrees in Theater and is passionate about storytelling. He has worked for theater companies in Chicago, Kansas City, and Portland, Or where he currently works as a  playwright and IT specialist. Jason started working with the NAO robots as a student at the University of Iowa in Denise Szecsei’s Robot Theatre class. Jason is excited to have the opportunity to work with the NAO robots again and share with others their power as a storytelling tool.

More on the UI Computer Science Department's NAO Robot here.