WQED Show Brings CMU Robotics Classes To High School Students

May 25, 2020

High school students finishing their coursework at home can now access Carnegie Mellon University-quality robotics instructions on television. WQED has launched a new show called “The Robot Doctor” geared toward supporting STEM teachers with curriculum anyone can access. 

The show is the only gateway some students have to learn about robotics, according to Darryl Ford Williams, WQED’s Vice President of Content.

“Our goal was to reach high school students across the board, but particularly those who would not have access to internet where they might ordinarily be able to find these videos on YouTube or just by going to a website,” she said.

The show’s host is Jonathan Butzke, a CMU graduate and lead robotics researcher at RobotWitz. He explains how robots are designed and how they move, collect data and sense the world around them, all in language high schoolers can understand.

Williams said the show also answers the age old question asked by teenagers through the generations: "Why on Earth am I studying this?"

High school algebra "really has direct application to understanding how to program robots in a way that allows them to work efficiently," she said.

Each episode is 14 minutes and includes an assignment teachers can use as part of their curriculum. Students are prompted to take notes on portions of the episode to refer to when completing the assignment. "The Robot Doctor" premiered May 6 with new episodes airing every Wednesday through June 24 at 7:30 p.m. on WQED-TV.