Nice piece from EducationDIVE...
"Robots jumpstart learning in some US districts"
"For National Robot Week, a look at two approaches to incorporating robotics in the classroom
'Teaching' robots tricks with codeRobots can certainly teach students, but can students teach robots?
That’s the idea behind a new competition called the Vermont Robot Rodeo, currently unfolding in the Green Mountain state.
It’s a collaborative project. For the rodeo, around fifty schools across the state “host” a variety of robots, sharing their learning strategies with each other on social media as the project progresses. Schools can borrow robots and swap them out for different models.
The main goal of the competition is to provide a fun and interactive way to get students coding so they can “train” their robots to perform a stunt, which is generated with code, for the big Robot Rodeo, slated for May.
Will Bohmann is the Educational Technology Integration Specialist at the Center for Technology, a tech high school in Essex, VT. He’s been experimenting with a Wink robot from PlumGeek Software, designed to introduce programming to newbies and to work with experienced coders alike.
Wink uses an open source platform called Arduino IDE.
“I named my robot Ferris, because I had some challenges getting him to school each day,” Bohmann blogged. “The challenge of setting up reminded me that sometimes Ferris just needed a day off. Now that I've broken him in, he's been pretty dependable and can do some exciting things.”
Richmond Elementary School, Colchester Middle School, and St. Albans City School are participating.
Students at RES received their first robot, called a “cubelet,” in January 2016, and the experimentation began.
At Colchester Middle School, students trained a robot called Dash for a month before sending him off to St. Albans.
Matt Gile, the school’s AV assistant, created a video encapsulating Dash’s time with Colchester students.
Erica Bertucci coordinates STEAM learning at St. Albans City School, from grades pre-K-8. Although St. Albans owns six of their own robots, they received a cubelet from the Robot Rodeo, and Bertucci was able to incorporate it into exploration time even for her youngest students.
"The robot is programmed, in part, by how you put blocks together," she said.
Bertucci took out the cubes, and allowed her five-year-old students to figure out the robot themselves.
"They first said, oh look, blocks!" she recalled. "And then — magnets! They realized that they were magnetic blocks. Then, a light was blinking!"
Bertucci remained silent while the kids started experimenting and playing with the cubelet.
"They started guessing: Is it a robot? Why is it moving? Why isn’t it moving?" she said. "That kind of problem-solving at that early level, in a hands-on tangible way, it was so exciting."
In South Burlington’s Orchard School, K-5 students spent five weeks training Dash/Dot, BB8, Spheros and Finch robots. They also entered into an interstate partnership with schools in Georgia and Connecticut, using Flipboards to challenge peers to teach their own school robots.
The challenges presented by Vermont students ranged from teaching robots the ABC’s to having them say names. They also fielded challenges from the out-of-state students, like this one, where a Finch was trained to spin in a circle..."
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