Day 20: The calm after the storm (Mbot 3!)

There was only 2 of us left. Jia Jen had to settle a life-changing moment, that is his scholarship leaving the two of us to take care of an entire class. It's alright I thought, I have Khayhen, the most experienced one of the group to back me up should I ever need anything. It can't be that bad I reassured myself, I've taught students before, and I'm good at words! The first time is going to be alright. We woke up early at 6am, the earliest I've awaken in the past month. The surroundings was dark, so I turned on the light. Instinctively, I went to look out the window, and to my dismay, it was pouring anjing dan kucing. It did not look good, this was a bad omen I thought to myself. 

Khayhen picking up after Jia Jen's Slack
Anyways, we arrived at the school in Ayer Keroh right on time! We did the usual, carry out those heavy mbot boxes, up many flights of stairs, oh no, the students did it this time. I hope we don't get sued for child labor. Items were set up, banners raised, and speech is ago! It was carefully designed for my debut performance, and the result looked great on paper, but it sounded... meh. I should have wrote it in Bahasa Melayu instead of English. It was at that moment that I realized that my Bahasa level was really sub-par as compared to my English. Perhaps this was a blessing in disguise, as younger students would have probably have preferred simple language.

Lights On!
Weapons Set
The teachers weren't able to install the program before the program. Normally this would take a short amount of time (~15 minutes) for 30 students as the government provided netbooks were pretty good. But not today. Some of the computers were infected, and unfortunately a few students had to wait for us to figure out a way to deal with it. In addition, a few robots had decided to go rogue and did not listen to their master. One robot was an avid fan of darkness and did not like the joy of colorful LEDs. It probably was a spy for the Sith lords.

After going through the modules, the students went into the most exciting part of the program, the robot competition! It's a free for all, winner takes all, you're on your own competition! Here's how it looked like during the preparation stages:

Game Stage
Victors of the Robot Competition
The Battle Royale. While competitions are great, knockout systems are silly as they don't offer competitors a chance to learn from their mistakes and try again. You could see it in the faces of the ones that lost, they were really disappointed and wished they had a second chance. Soon, an underground battle bot was emerging at the back of the class, and I followed the footsteps of those that legalized marijuna, I made the Battle Royale official. In a few humble words, it was probably the best robot fight the students ever had.

Teachers are the best. They always know what to prepare (food) and what to say. I couldn't help but slip the question : "What are the reactions of the students to all these new technological experiences?" and with that, a lively conversation sparked. 

She talked about the governments initiatives to spread awareness of STEM to the young children, for example the Lego Mindstorms project whereby every school would receive 2 sets of it. However, the problem is that it is up to the teachers to maintain and advocate such a program. She mentioned that she facilitates robotic endeavors in the school, to the extent that the students have won prizes at public competitions. However proud she was of their achievement, she was exhausted; and if she were to take a break, no one else would take over. I really applaud what she has done, and I hope that there will be more local leaders like herself that would take initiatives like this.


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