Technology Class Prepares For Competition

Building and programming a robot is among the class projects for the technology class at Gulfport High School.

Students learn a practical application for sometimes boring science and math principles.

"It's an applied physics course. Science and math are peanut butter and jelly. And it goes straight with the technology side of it. So there's no way to escape math," instructor David Fava said.

The classroom projects encourage creativity. Students use computers and robotics to build a variety of devices. Manufacturing is among the practical applications for the student designed projects.

Students use their imaginations along with special computer software to create animation. The graphics project took many months of work from concept to finished project.

Student Tyler Smith enjoyed working on the process.

"It's fun because you get to see what people actually put into movies like 'Toy Story' and 'It's a Bug's Life' and all those video games that we play. It's crazy," Smith said.

Gulfport High has a new partnership with the Gulf Coast campus of USM. College students and instructors are sharing their expertise with the high school technology class.

Dr.Georgios Demetriou is an assistant professor of computer science at USM Gulf Coast.

"We're very happy to be able to help these guys. We welcome this opportunity. These kids are doing an amazing job. And I think they deserve most of the credit. We're just there to help them out if we can."

Students admit the classroom projects are more fun than work. Their teacher says having fun with physics is simply a by product of the learning process.

"It's a place for them to grow and learn and become better people," Fava said.

The technology class will participate in a regional competition in Houston later this month.  They've also been invited to the national competition in Orlando in late April.