Robotics Education

A Blog for my independent study in robotics education. I will post frequently, as all work I write here will be handed in and graded.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Pieces of You

This past Friday (September 8th), I met up with Sumon and Kevin in the robotics lab. Sumon had Kevin and me set up four robot kits each, which consisted of digging through the graves of robotic creations long past, finding the correct pieces for each kit, ticking them off on a checklist once found, and putting the parts for a complete kit into a plastic box for later assembly.

After that was done, Sumon described to us the process of teaching kids how to put together a robot from an instructions sheet. I remember putting together one for the AI class, and it will be quite a chore to instruct a group of teenagers how to do this. I hope they have free refills on Ritalin in the school cafeteria.

Next Sumon showed us the RoboLab software that we'll be using. I had already become somewhat familiar with it when working on four of the lesson plans during the Summer, but I still learned some more about the way the icons work and what they mean in terms of actual programming syntax. It's more or less like learning a new language, except instead of using English the code is in pictograms. It's as if learning to program in Chinese.

The whole thing took two and half hours, which went by pretty quickly. It's going to take me a bit longer to completely familiarize myself with all of the symbols in RoboLab, but that I can do at work when I have free time. I'm also going to go back to the lab sometime this week to help organize pieces and assemble more kits. That'll be more than likely on Thursday.

Lastly, while I was there in the lab, Mr. Coordinator called back; the school definitely is interested in having the program there. I answered a few of his questions (yes, we bring all the equipment and we teach the whole course, but we only ask you to provide batteries...) and then told him that Prof Sklar would like to have a meeting and could then describe the program in more detail. I took down his email and then passed it along to her later on.

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