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Hey, There Was a PwC Robot Sighting in NYC School

Back in late October, we told you about CODE-E, a robot PwC is bringing to schools to help educators teach students about technology skills and financial literacy. Because no one can teach students how to manage their money better than a non-human, right? Right.

Anyway, it looks like CODE-E is starting to make the rounds in New York City, according to an article on the website Triple Pundit:

Dudes aren’t even giving poor CODE-E the time of day in this photo.

The article includes a Q&A with Shannon Schuyler, chief purpose officer and responsible business leader at PwC and president of the PwC Charitable Foundation, who talks about how CODE-E is charming the pants off of students (figuratively, not literally). But in a surprise to no one, it took PwC three school appearances before it finally figured out how to use CODE-E the right way:

The first time we brought CODE-E to a school, the students sat in their seats and listened to CODE-E talk, and then they brainstormed ways technology could change something in their lives. The students had a hard time coming up with ideas and quickly lost interest. So, our teams put their heads together and revised the lessons to heighten their empathy skills by enabling students to have a conversation with CODE-E, and to increase engagement in the lesson by prompting them to think about how they could solve a problem they face personally in their school using technology.

By our third school visit, to the Academy for Software Engineering (AFSE) in New York City, we urged students to focus on something practical they would like to change. The students got excited and immediately started churning out ideas: an app to let students know when a seat was available in the overcrowded cafeteria at lunchtime, an automated system to provide access to the restrooms, and a digital system to check them in every morning so they could spend less time waiting in line, and more time learning in the classroom. When the students left, they were cheering and brimming with ideas. The math and science teacher we worked with at that school, Jonathan Rothman, emailed us a couple weeks after the visit to thank us for bringing so much curiosity and excitement to the classroom. He said his students are still talking about CODE-E and students who aren’t in his class keep swinging by asking if the robot is coming back so they can meet it.

Still no word yet on whether CODE-E will be helping PwC count ballots for next month’s Academy Awards. Stay tuned.