Robot Theater Summer Camp 2017

Using humanoid robots to teach computational thinking

Please see gallery below for program pictures.


Grades 6 through 8 (as of Spring 2017) - Residential Academic Program

Jun 18, 2017 - Jun 23, 2017 (All day - Sample Junior Scholars Institute day at "Daily Schedule" tab)

Final Performance: Friday 6/23/17 in 240 BHC, 11am. Free and open to the public.

Morning: Playwriting | Afternoon: Programming
On University of Iowa campus (Blank Honors Center)

This girl-friendly programming class integrates the arts and the sciences. The focus of this class is to learn computational thinking and computer science in the context of the performing arts—programming NAO humanoid robots to perform theatrical skits. Come and experience an innovative way for students with high math and verbal abilities to engage in computer science and technology-related fields. Teams of students will be working together to create robot theater performances. No previous experience with writing, puppetry, theater, or working with robots is required. The class will start with an introduction to the elements of story telling and the conventions of how to put a play on the page. Then using a series of daily writing prompts, theatre games, workshops, and dedicated in class writing time, students will write a short monologue or scene that takes advantage of the capabilities of the robots. These completed writing projects will be then programed into the robots and delivered as part of the final performance that 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.