"This gives kids an opportunity from our schools to come. Perhaps they can experience what it's like and they might want to get interested in it,” Tourville said.
A dozen Oklahoma high schools have robotics teams and nearly 20 others have expressed interest in starting one, said Tonya Scott, faculty adviser for Ponca City's team. Scott expects teams from Oklahoma and five states will compete here.
"We have always had to travel and be the outsider at events. Now we feel like a host,” Scott said. "Oklahoma hospitality is like no other and we intend for this to be a spectacular event, not only for Oklahoma kids but for those who want to visit us.”
The Legislature in May appropriated $100,000 for high schools to establish robotics projects. The state Education Department will award 20 grants of $5,000 for schools to implement remote-controlled robot projects that could be entered into competitions.
"What we want to develop in students is real-life problem solving skills,” Scott said. "There is nothing greater than a problem of giving kids two boxes full of electronic stuff and saying, ‘Here, build some stuff out of it.' Not only do you have to build it, but it has to run well and not break down all the time.”