Girls outnumber boys in robot quest

A Dunedin robotics competition attracted more entrants than its rival cities and had more girls making machines than boys.

Robocup Otago chairman Donald Liddell said 162 primary and high school pupils entered the Robocup Otago junior competition at Elim Church on Saturday.

The attendance was a record in the competition's eight-year history, he said.

The children competed for ''kudos'' and the chance to represent Otago at the nationals in Dunedin on September 13.

Robocup Junior national co-ordinator Sandy Garner said it was the first year girls had outnumbered boys at the Dunedin competition, with 82 girls and 80 boys entered.

The competition was held in six New Zealand cities, including Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, and for the first time Dunedin fielded the most entrants, she said.

The competition provided a fun platform for pupils to develop programming skills.

''It gets them while they're still malleable and finding themselves.''

The ''easiest and the hardest'' of the three-competition section was ''theatre'', where robots performed onstage and ''rescue'' section robots had two minutes to save a rice-filled can.

Two teams in the soccer competition called it a draw when both robots malfunctioned. Year 12 King's High School pupil Philip Anderson (16), of Dunedin, said it was the sixth year he had entered the competition.

His robot's initial soccer performance was slow but reprogramming on the fly would increase its speed during the day. He hoped his future career would include programming and electronics.

''When it works it's very satisfying.''

Robocup official Sam Paulin (23), of Dunedin, said he represented Otago at the Robocup nationals in Auckland in his final year at Logan Park High School. The exposure to technology at Robocup helped him towards a career as a software tester at ADInstruments, he said.

''An introduction to this sort of thing at an early age - building and programming something for a purpose - is definitely helpful.''

Unrelated headings

David_M, if the story was about the lack of gender balance in engineering this might have been a good heading. If it had been about gender representation in any field, this might have been a good heading.  But the story was about the Robocup.

I personally think it's a bit of an insult to the people who spent a lot of time and energy on it. The headline focusing on something like gender looks to me like the writer wasn't really interested.  

PS. I was not involved in this event.

Science/Engineering still male-dominated

DnMum, I think it is a good thing to mention that there were more girls than boys in the robotics competition. While science and engineering is very much male-dominated, having such a large percentage of girls interested in the fields can only be a good thing.

From what I saw of the entries I would have to say that there was some exceptional work from most competitors, girls and boys alike. To see the number of entrants absolutely enjoying themselves with such educational material was great to see and if the competition encourages more girls into a male-dominated field, how is this a bad thing? 


It would have been nice if the ODT also printed the results.

(Results can be found here >>Link<< - Ed)


Lame headline

A story about kids making robots, and it's headed up 'Girls outnumber boys in robot quest'.

Apparently girls are people, too. Was that really part of the story?

Brickbats to the the person who couldn't think of a better heading. Very lame. 

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