Our Story So Far
Hi, thanks for visiting my blog.
I'm Zan, and I started Zobotics (originally called Restech) to inspire children and adults.
I make robots and I teach robotics - though I prefer the word Zobotics. This is something I made up and it means doing robotics but in a non-geeky way.
There is a huge stereotype problem around Robotics and STEM. When someone says programmer or roboticist or electrical engineer I think a lot of people imagine someone - usually a white male- sat in a dark room hacking away at a laptop. This person usually has limited social skills and their hygiene standards are somewhat wanting...
Because of this image - which may or may not be accurate - a lot of people have been put off learning about programming, electronics and even making robots. And this is a real loss!
Robotics is awesome. The ability to create and make stuff and the joy it brings is something universal amongst humans. Its the reason we bake pretty cakes, paint beautiful pictures and work on intricate model aeroplanes.
Fortunately with things like the Maker Movement and STEM programmes for schools, this image is starting to change...but we still have a long way to go.
I'm hoping, with my tiny blog here and the teaching that I do both in person and through my online courses, I can make a small difference. I want to show kids and adults that robotics can be fun and can be learnt by anyone. It may be not very easy, as it is a hard subject but I believe anything can be learned and mastered.
Success is simply the result of 3 things: Persistancy, Consistency and Patience.
So how am I hoping to change that perception?
1: All of my teaching is done in a step by step approach, where the learner is not inundated with lots of new words and technical knowledge. But instead we take things easy and learn one thing at a time. The learner also has plenty of opportunity to explore by themselves, try things out and learn through mistakes - I believe that's how we learn best. There is plenty of evidence to support this, which I am currently researching.
2: The projects that I blog about and promote will be fun and social - for example the robotic lamp I'm currently making. Its an everyday project that everyday people will understand. You can follow along and make it on your own or with your friends/family/kids etc.
I've always been interested in how things work, but I went to an all girls' school and I too had that same perception about programmers.
I also didn't know how get started with the stuff I was interested in, I knew I wanted to make stuff and that I loved working with computers, but that was all.
There was no one around me who might have picked up on my interest and guided me towards programming or anything similar.
I always thought I would end up being a writer, as I also had a love of writing and would write stories that my classmates would read during school. That part of me still exists and hence this blog.
It was only when I finished school and was wondering what to do next that I found my way. I was flicking through a university prospectus and I saw a course titled "Robotics" - wow! I thought, that sounds amazing. I don't know if any of you remember Alistair Smithe from the 90s Spider man cartoons, but he made some really cool robots - granted his spider slayers were never actually good enough to take out our friendly neighbourhood superhero - but the concept was cool nonetheless. I had always wanted to know how his stuff worked and figured this would be the best way to find out.
So I went for it and haven't looked back since.
University was hard. I was a complete beginner to the world of robotics and coding and electronics. The first year was excruciating - I understood very little and felt so lost a lot of the time. But with a lot of self learning, hard work and the help of some truly brilliant course mates - who became good friends - I got through it and came out with a 1st class degree.
That's how I know - if I can do it, anyone can.
Remember, anything worth doing is hard.
So thanks for reading this and hanging out with me. I hope you find my blog useful and, if so, please bookmark my site and share with those you know.