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Saturday, June 10 • 5:30pm - 6:30pm
Wellbotics: Critical Making through Accessible Coding and Robotics

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Wellbotics is a creative and design-based intervention that goes beyond STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) by using coding and robotics to represent human thought and behavior.

The Wellbotics team is comprised of members from marginalized communities and also works with community-based organizations to challenge the notion that robotics and coding is accessible only to a certain subset of the wider population. The Wellbotics program, built from a foundation of design justice, opens the door to creativity and humanity, which are essential building blocks for innovation as well as social justice.

Wellbotics provides an opportunity for collaborative learning and community building for vulnerable populations carefully selected by mental health professionals. Content delivery is culturally-informed and also differentiated so that each individual is able to access the full benefit of the experience.

Wellbotics’ methodology for helping children to develop social-emotional skills begins with identifying appropriate content and the best evidence-based methods for delivering that content. The Wellbotics process is centered around the concept of embodiment. Educational robots are embodied agents. While educational robots are usually seen as a natural fit for STEM education, they are particularly beneficial in areas where the analogous relationship between robots and humans can serve to illustrate abstract concepts like human thought and behavior.

Social-emotional learning (SEL) advances educational equity and excellence through authentic school-family-community partnerships to establish learning environments and experiences that feature trusting and collaborative relationships, rigorous and meaningful curriculum and instruction, and ongoing evaluation. SEL can help address various forms of inequity and empower young people and adults to co-create thriving schools and contribute to safe, healthy, and just communities.

In practice, coding and robotics provide an opportunity to simulate both thinking and feeling, for example by writing a program, which can be seen as analogous to thinking, that tells a robot to behave in a way that is similar to how a human might behave when experiencing a particular emotion. Wellbotics tailors each series to meet the needs of our partner organizations that include The American Cancer Society, Riverside Church NYC, The West Harlem Development Corporation, and Riverside Freedom School.

Wellbotics is currently partnering with community-based organizations, like The Child Center of NY, a leading provider of NYC community schools, where students receive high-quality academic instruction and extended learning opportunities. The Child Center aims to ensure students can succeed academically, socially, and emotionally, and graduate from high school with skills and confidence. Wellbotics programs have been provided to students hand selected by social workers at P.S./I.S. 323 as well as P.S. 253, The Randolph Holder School for Social Justice, both of which primarily serve economically disadvantaged diverse populations.

Wellbotics is also currently partnering with Gilda’s Club Westchester (GCW) to offer workshops to kids who have been impacted by a cancer diagnosis of their own or that of a loved one. GCW is committed to anti-racist education and is particularly focused on expanding programming to under-resourced communities, including Black, Indigenous, People of Color; the LGBTQIA community; and the Latinx community, regardless of citizenship or immigration status. They care deeply about the ongoing creation of new relationships, new ideas, and social and emotional wellness for all.

The benefits of social-emotional learning are well-researched, with evidence demonstrating that an education that promotes SEL yields positive results for students, adults, and school communities. SEL has a powerful combination of evidence and support. The findings from the analysis of hundreds of studies show that SEL leads to beneficial outcomes related to: social and emotional skills; attitudes about self, school, and civic engagement; social behaviors; conduct problems; emotional distress; and academic performance.


Pamela Davis

CEO, Wellbotics

Saturday June 10, 2023 5:30pm - 6:30pm EDT
Design Center (1st Floor)