Portola Valley, CA, May 24, 2013 – Techykids.com’s founder and Woodland School Instructional Technology Coordinator Sharon Marzouk was honored with a coveted Educator’s Choice Award at the 8th Annual Bay Area Maker Faire for her presentation and demonstration, “Learning Robotics with the Thymio Robot.” Held at the San Mateo Event Center on May 18th and 19th, Maker Faire is billed as the “Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth” —a family-friendly festival of invention, creativity and resourcefulness, and a celebration of the Maker movement.
An avid robotics educator and founder of Techykids.com, Marzouk has integrated robotics education into Woodland classrooms through the Thymio educational robot, which introduces students to programming and writing code. The Thymio features 39 LEDs, a microphone and speaker for audio interaction, accelerometers and sensors for proximity and temperature, and has applications for even the youngest students.
“Thymio has a graphical, visual programming language and because students can actually see real code being created, they can learn to modify and edit real code,” says Marzouk, who encourages design thinking (learning “how to think”) at Woodland School through a hands-on, problem-solving interdisciplinary approach. “Engaging with Thymio and technology unlocks kids’ creativity and critical thinking and begins to empower them with really valuable and relevant 21st century skills.”
Part science fair, part county fair, and part something entirely new, Maker Faire (which launched in the Bay Area in 2006) is an all-ages gathering of tech enthusiasts, crafters, educators, tinkerers, hobbyists, engineers, science clubs, authors, artists, students, and commercial exhibitors. Maker Faire is primarily designed to be forward-looking, showcasing makers who are exploring new forms and new technologies but also features innovation and experimentation across the spectrum of science, engineering, art, performance and craft. In 2013, over 60 community-driven Mini Maker Faires are expected around the world, including Tokyo and Rome. Tens of thousands of people attended the two-day Bay Area Maker Faire over the weekend.
In addition to shepherding the interdisciplinary technology program at Woodland School, Marzouk has led many robotics programs for kids, from Wizbots to being a mentor at Hack the Future. She partnered with Willow Garage to develop and lead the interactive PR2 robot program at The Tech. Sharon has a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University.