Barker's Robotics program continues to go from strength-to-strength demonstrating that Robotics is so much more than 'just the robot'.
Robotics at Barker
Robotics is much more than electronic gaming. It combines careful design, construction, team play and character forming application to detail under rigorous, even stressful circumstances.
Barker has adopted a whole-school approach to its Robotics program with students able to participate in Robotics from Year 3. Our Robotics program has grown significantly and now involves hundreds of students from Junior School to Year 12 in three different styles of experience. A wonderful new VEX Robotics lab as well as a marvellous space for FRC activities, opened in 2022, allowing students access to a full size field and room for design work, machining, coding and planning.
Through a rewarding and enriching program, we aim to maximise the creative and intelligent capacity of the students, challenging them to grow their skills and confidence to achieve feats they never thought possible.
Barker College hosts the annual VEX Robotics Competition and VEX IQ Challenge Scrimmage and Tournaments, which have almost tripled in size since their inauguration in 2018. Barker VEX IQ and VEX Robotics Competition teams have qualified to the VEX Australia Nationals every year since 2018.
No previous skills are required to join the program - just curiosity, enthusiasm and a willingness to learn. Training, support and guidance are provided by Barker technical staff, teachers and industry mentors.
All FRC team members are expected to participate in the local Regionals in Sydney, Australia. If students wish to, there is usually an opportunity to participate in an International Regional each year, frequently in the first week of April. Available positions for tours may be limited, and be offered to team members at the discretion of the Robotics Co-ordinator based on participation and effectiveness on the team.
All VEX Robotics Competition students participate at Tournaments held each year and may earn the opportunity to travel to Nationals held in a different capital city within Australia each year if they qualify from a tournament.
Since 2013, Barker has been involved in the FIRST Robotics Competition, pitching our students against the finest in the USA as well as various countries around the world.
In the annual competitions hosted by Houston, Texas, over the years the Barker Redbacks Team have won the FRC Chairman’s Award several times. In addition, we have consistently won Asia-Pacific Regional Robotics Competitions and held a top ten world rank in our Robotics program.
Just as significant is the reason for the FRC Chairman’s Award – the Barker approach is to foster excellence for other teams, not just for ourselves. Deep in the philosophy of Robotics is to share ideas and encourage the development of Robotics in other schools and communities, especially those who are disadvantaged. Robotics programs now exist in other countries because of the support of the Barker Redbacks. The Barker FRC Team has supported the establishment of robotics in China, Brazil, South America and India, as well as other schools in Australia.
In recognition of this contribution and of the excellence of the Barker Redbacks ingenuity in its own right, the FRC has admitted us to their Hall of Fame. Barker is the only school outside of the US to be admitted to the Hall of Fame.
These students are making a contribution beyond the Mint Gates and are the first and only Australian school to achieve this recognition. The creativity, determination, ingenuity and skills these young students demonstrate each year is commendable as they continue to build ever more sophisticated and impressive robots, whilst sharing their knowledge and understanding with teams around the globe.