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Interview With Harold Holley

We visit with Harold Holley, executive director of Oklahoma FIRST Robotics about the past and future of Oklahoma robotics.
Interview With Harold Holley

Harold Holley

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Oklahoma FIRST Robotics

Show Dates

Show 1011: Interview With Harold Holley

Air date: March 14, 2010

 

Transcript

Rob:  And, joining me now is Harold Holley, Regional Director for Oklahoma’s FIRST Robotics.  Well, you came into my office a little over three years saying there’s something really cool about to happen and you need to know about it and man, how has it grown.

Harold Holley:  That’s correct, I mean, when I started we had somewhere between eight and ten teams; and depending upon the year, whether they participated.  And we’ve grown steadily from those eight core teams to twenty-four teams, to thirty-seven teams, to now we’re, starting this year with forty-nine teams.

Rob:  And these are teams that range from high schools, to home school, to Tech Centers?

Harold:  That’s correct.  And, we’ve kind of expanded this year we’ve got teams from, more teams from the northeast, Adair High School and Grove High School join us as brand new teams this year, to compliment teams from Lawton and Fort Cobb and Idabel has a new team at the Tech Center in Idabel.  So, we’re expanding out, getting kids excited about math, science, and technology.

Rob:  Yeah and they’re all getting ready for this Regional competition that comes up later this month in Oklahoma City.

Harold:  That’s right.  March the twenty-seventh, the twenty-fifth through the twenty-seventh, the teams will all gather, there will be five teams from Kansas that have decided to come down to see what the Oklahoma Regional is all about, and we’ll have fifty-five teams at the arena playing the current game called Break Away.

Rob:  And, I want to show some video here and I want you to describe to people that have never seen this, what it’s like.  I think they may be surprised.

Harold:  Oh they will.  It, it’s the most unusual type of competition I’ve ever seen.  Instead of one team against another team, it’s an alliance of three teams working together in some sort of a planned way to compete against three other teams to score more points or goals or whatever the challenge is that year, and then they only have two and a half minutes.  And then thirty minutes later one of your opposing team member teams might be on your alliance, so they go throughout this Thursday and Saturday morning, Friday and Saturday morning, of switching alliance members throughout the day; so it really creates this family atmosphere of, is, you’re on my alliance now and I know what your strengths are, let’s do this particular two and a half minutes a certain way.

Rob:  I would be really curious, you know, so many Oklahoman’s are involved in competitive sports and these are really competitive academics; I mean, how many people that are competitive sports are eventually professional, you know, athletes, I wonder how many of these young people that are doing this today will go on to becoming, making a living from something that they learned right, you know, in their high school classroom?

Harold:  Well, it’s interesting because, you know, the whole goal I think of this FIRST Robotics competition is to get kids excited about science, technology, engineering, and math; and it was announced by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that this year was the first year that ten percent of the entering freshmen were FIRST Robotic team members.  Now likewise, the OSU College of Engineering announced that they had a thirteen percent increase in engineering students.  Now, that’s just engineering, we don’t about, you know, what kind of a tie-in this experience has caused other areas of colleges, within community colleges, but we think there’s been a significant impact in getting these kids excited.

Rob:  Well, it’s certainly an interesting program and one that I think, as you said, we will just continue to see the impact of it.

Harold:  That’s correct.

Rob:  Thank you so much for being here.

Harold:  Thank you.