Friday, October 28, 2016

Robots as Materials to Teach Math and Science

(from T.H.E Journal)... a interesting and series application of robots to teach important curriculum...

Robot Set Helps Teach Math and Science

Robot Set Helps Teach Math and Science

Can robots teach math? That's what RobotsLab is promoting with the release of its latest robotics product, the Box, a kit of hardware and curriculum intended to teach Algebra 1 and 2, physics, geometry, trigonometry, and pre-calculus for grades seven through 12. The Box comes in two versions, one for $3,500, which includes four robots, a tablet computer that acts as the control station, accessories, and 50 lessons and quizzes. A "Deluxe" Box, which is $3,999, includes access to additional lessons throughout the year and an extended warranty.

Each lesson is an app on the tablet that controls the robots in the package. Every module comes with an instructional video, a touch-based lesson, a quiz, and additional teaching materials. For example, a robotic ball is used in lessons on quadratic equations, statistics, and probability; a robotic arm helps teach geometry lessons on triangles and angles as well as trig lessons on arc, length, sine, and cosine; and a "quadcopter" provides physics lessons in gravity, acceleration, and frame of reference.

RobotsLab's Box kits enable teachers to use robots to illustrate math concepts.
According to one lesson, the robots are used to "expose scientific principles providing a bridge between the abstract topics and the real world." In order to solve quizzes, the students have to work through equations, come to an understanding of physical forces, and perform scientific investigation.

Teachers: You can start your own robotics program!

ISTE Resources

Lego robotics is  hands-on, collaborative, authentic learning experience, and Mark Gura wants you to give it a try.

Gura, the author of the ISTE book Getting Started with Lego Robotics, understands how daunting it can be to start a robotics program from scratch. That’s why he wants to help other educators like you by sharing information you need to get started. He’s one of three guests presenting “Creative Technology Use in K-12,” a webcast hosted by School Library Journal in partnership with ISTE.

Sign up for the Jan. 27 web event to learn how you can teach coding to kids of varying ages, abilities and learning styles, and find resources and tips on student-designed robotic projects.

Gura will be joined by Colleen Graves, a teacher-librarian from Denton, Texas, and Sharon Thompson, the CEO and founder of Dream Workshop.

The webinar is past but the value the book offers continues!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Plobot - a robot for young kids to learn programming

I got the message below in my In Box this morning. This looks like a very good learning resource to me!
I love the story behind it as well. Yes, far better than from a "fancy PR agency"!



Hi !

As a father, I am always concerned about the virtual world my daughter seems to be immerse every time there is a screen in front of her. And I am not saying that just because. I teach robotics at NYU Shanghai because I think there is something valuable in technology for our next generation.

As a teacher, I feel we are just not equipped properly for the speed of change that this digital era brought to us. We have iPads at school, smart screens but not so much changed in class management. I still have to show them and ask them not to touch so many things when I teach science at primary schools. And I feel sorry for that. We should be able to ask them to experiment non-stop. 

In any case, I made an Arduino robot that works with RFID cards for my classes. And I think it is something any Pre-K or Grade 1~4 would want to have. Let me attach a press release I prepared. It might not be professional but I thought you would rather read from me directly than from some fancy PR agency.

We are live at kickstarter ( and we just got selected by them as *projects we love*.


Sunday, October 23, 2016

Self-driving cars may follow the rules of the road — but people won't!

One of the great advantages of self-driving cars is how scrupulously they follow the rules of the road.
But because of the nefarious behaviour of some human drivers, it may also prove a major disadvantage.
A new study into drivers' attitudes towards self-driving cars has found that some drivers intend to "bully" autonomous vehicles when they hit the road — driving aggressively around them in the assumption that they will have to stop and let the bully through. We first heard about this study from The FT.

It makes sense: Imagine there are two cars waiting at a junction, one self-driving, and one human-driven. The self-driving car has right-of-way — but the human goes anyway. The self-driving car, programmed to protect its passengers and avoid harming other drivers, will stop itself — letting the aggressive human driver go.

Of course, this kind of behaviour is illegal. But that doesn't stop some drivers from defying the rules of the road today. Faced with a predictable autonomous vehicle with lightning-fast reflexes, it will likely encourage this behaviour even more.

The study — conducted by researchers from the London School of Economics in partnership with Goodyear — had 12,000 respondents from 11 European countries. It found that the majority of people are on some level uncomfortable with autonomous vehicles — whether riding in one or just being on the road alongside one while driving a manual vehicle.

Read the full story at its source: