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Colonie Central High School News

robotrobot with studentPTSA-Funded Robot, Dash, Teaches CCHS Students Computer Programming

Who’s the most popular student at Colonie Central High School these days? Well, you won’t find his picture in the yearbook but I bet he’d get a few votes.

His name is Dash, and he arrived at the Technology Department in a box. Dash is a robot. He’s not the scary human size kind depicted in Sci-Fi movies, but a cute little colorful, one-eyed creature the size of a toy.

Dash was purchased with a donation from the Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA). Students in the Computer Programming course have spent the fall learning how to make him move from zooming across the classroom floor to trying the latest dance steps.

“The robot is a big hit with my students,” said teacher Lisa Eichholzer. “They are allowed to use him when they are done early with their work. It is not complex programming but it teaches logic and what we call pseudo-programming in a fun way.”

Each year, the PTSA budgets $2,500 for the high school’s Departmental Grant Program, said President Stephanie Cogan. The PTSA distributes the grant applications in January, and teachers may request funding for the "extras" that are not covered by departmental budgets. The applications are reviewed and the competitive grants are distributed in April.

Dash, a Wonderpack robot kit, was purchased for $650 with one of three PTSA grants awarded for the 2014-15 school year. The other two PTSA grants included $261 for a new video camera for the school video classes, and $400 for a mobile display board for the Art Department.