Eastern Tech team advances to VEX Robotics World Championship

VEX RoboticsTOWSON, MD – Eleven teams representing Baltimore County Public Schools have qualified to participate in the VEX Robotics World Championship, sponsored by the Northrop Grumman Foundation, to be held April 19 – 25 in Louisville, Ky.

The participating teams are Dulaney High School team 1727G; Eastern Technical High School teams 5839E and 5839A; Hereford High School team 929U; Hereford Middle School teams 929B, 929J, 9290B, and 9290D; Patapsco High School team 6274B; Ridgely Middle School team 952B; and Towson High School team 934Z..

The teams secured spots at the world’s largest robotics competition through its success at the Maryland State Championships, where they won excellence, design, robot skills, or semifinalist awards, or won the event as a tournament champion or teamwork champion.

“Participating in the VEX Robotics Competition in school has strengthened the students’ interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and given them the skills they need to succeed well beyond high school.” said Patapsco High School teacher Ryan Hoge. “We’re excited to attend the VEX Robotics World Championship to compete with teams from around the world.”

According to Jason Morrella, president of the Robotics Education and Competition (REC) Foundation, “Qualifying for the VEX Robotics World Championship is the culmination of a full year’s worth of academic success and an opportunity to join the best robotics teams from around the world to celebrate and help us crown world champions from elementary school, middle school, high school, and college.”

VEX Competitions are the fastest growing competitive robotics programs for elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, and colleges around the world, with nearly 18,000 teams from over 40 countries that participate in more than 1,300 competitions worldwide. The competition season culminates each spring, with the VEX Robotics World Championship. The VEX Robotics World Championship will feature approximately 1,400 of the top teams from around the world.

‘Night of Innovation’ to be held at 4 BCPS schools

STAT BCPSA “Night of Innovation” evening event this month will showcase to families how Baltimore County Public Schools is transforming teaching and learning to ensure that all students will be globally competitive graduates.

The event is being held in four of the Lighthouse schools that are demonstration sites for the changes occurring in all schools as part of S.T.A.T. (Students and Teachers Accessing Tomorrow).

During the event, families will learn about and experience the tech tools that are integrated into learner-centered environments on a daily basis and see how these tools are used to customize and personalize instruction.

Visitors will be able to interact with various tech tools, experience digital playgrounds, and view innovative student projects.

The event will be held on Thursday, March 30, from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at Chesapeake High School (located at 1801 Turkey Point Rd., 21221).

The event will also be held on March 30 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Arbutus Middle School (located at 5525 Shelbourne Rd., 21227), Pikesville High School (located at 7621 Labyrinth Rd., 21208), and at Vincent Farm Elementary School (located at 6019 Ebenezer Rd., 21162).

At the heart of S.T.A.T. is a learner-centered approach to instruction. Students are active participants in the learning process and make choices about how and where they learn. Using redesigned curriculum in core content areas, S.T.A.T. creates a blended learning environment and places an emphasis on critical thinking and analytical skills.

Core S.T.A.T. components include BCPS One, a comprehensive platform providing information and resources to educators, parents and students; a 1:1 initiative to provide every student and teacher with a digital device to enhance personalized learning; and wireless and broadband infrastructure in every school.

AT&T outage affecting 911 calls in Baltimore County

911 CallMultiple law enforcement and government agencies across the U.S. are reporting that AT&T customers are unable to dial 911 from their cell phones.

A spokesman for AT&T said on Wednesday night that the company is aware of service issues affecting some calls to 911 for wireless customers.

There has been no word on what caused the outage or when 911 service will be restored. 

AT&T customers in Baltimore County needing any emergency response should call 410-887-2222 until further notice.

Eastern Tech, Parkville High VR films receive awards in national competition

Virtual RealityStudent teams from Eastern Technical High School and Parkville High School have received awards in the Digital Promise Global 360 Filmmakers Challenge.

Through the national competition, Digital Promise Global and partner Oculus (which creates virtual reality products) challenged high school students to use virtual reality and 360° video to promote social change.

The student team from Eastern Tech, working with Rebecca Meiller McCullagh, visual arts and interactive media production department chair, won the Tell 360 Award for its outstanding writing/narration of the film “Baltimore.” The student team was led by Julia Mich Mabini, who edited the winning film, Natalie Bates and Zachary Soper. The student team also included Amber Crumpler, Ariel Harp Glenn, Adam Harrison, Paul Karanja, Mya Tamburello, and Keonte Wilson-Robinson. The Eastern Tech students are all in Grade 11, and their film can be viewed at https://www.facebook.com/BaltCoPS/videos/1313558001998146/.

“I am incredibly proud of my 11th grade Interactive Media Production students, said Meiller McCullagh. “Tackling new virtual reality equipment and video editing with a 360° film, all while working within a very short timeline, was a huge feat. My students eagerly took on the challenge and grew as leaders, thinkers, and editors throughout the process.”

On the Digital Promise website, the student filmmakers wrote: “Our school is surrounded by water: the tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay, the Inner Harbor of Baltimore. The waterways greatly impact the industry of Maryland and dictate the economy for many. The health of the waterways is so important to our state and our area. Knowing that students and filmmakers across the country would be viewing this film, we wanted to present something that showed the small local companies and larger impact that the water has on our society.”

The student team from Parkville High, working with Ryan Twentey (a photography and Career and Technology Education interactive media teacher), won the Complete 360 Award for overall excellence and the Hack 360 Award for employing “a unique solution to capture a scene or angle.” Parkville was the only one of the nine schools honored to receive more than one award.

The Parkville film can be viewed on the BCPS Facebook page, and the members of the Parkville team are Grade 11 students Geneva Braxton (producer), Michael Connell, Victoria Ezeji, Victoria Hensley, Ivan Ignacio, Jasmine Lewis, Ariel Mitchell, Carson Rettig, Alexis Sauer, Layla Snyder, Breanna Way, Anthony Wesson, Sabriya Winder, and Julie Yap; and Grade 12 students Destiny Cage-Bollin, Liam Dietle (video editor and musician), Cheyenne Greear, Philiciea McCutcheon, Zion McFarland, Shelynta’ Romingo (producer), and Chase Ringus.

“I am so proud of these students and the level of quality, collaboration, and professionalism they displayed throughout this process,” said Twentey.

The Parkville filmmakers told Digital Promise, “The overall theme of the project was reaching out to those around you because you don’t know what someone could be going through, and you may be able to make a difference.”

As they concluded their film, the Parkville team was chosen to be showcased in an upcoming Digital Promise documentary. A film crew came to the school and recorded the students as well as audience members wearing virtual reality headsets and viewing the movie for the first time.

All participants in the 360 Filmmakers Challenge received 360° video production equipment and support from professional filmmakers.

You can learn more about the contest in the video below.