Archive for the ‘Education’ tag
In preparation for the 2013 Robotics Summer of Learning, we’ve released a second round of Robot Virtual Worlds updates! New versions of the VEX Toss Up, FTC Ring It Up, and RVW Level Builder can be downloaded today.
VEX Toss Up 1.5.2
If you haven’t already signed up for the VEX Toss Up programming competition on CS2N, you should do so here.
Changes in this version of VEX Toss Up:
- Added Preload Buckyballs
- Buckyballs load into Intakebot, are placed at predefined location when using Ballerbot
- Better handling of game pieces when performing robot switch and realignment in a base zone (CS2N Competition)
- Updated scoring to include hanging with a ball bonus when low hanging
- Robots no longer fly away when hanging in CS2N Competition
- Added score submission for CS2N Competition
- Made “remember me” checkbox on login screen work properly
- Changed keyboard control mapping on Intakebot’s Tread motor to be more intuitive
FTC Ring It Up 2.5.2
Sign up for the FTC Ring It UP programming competition on CS2N here.
Changes in this version of Ring It Up:
- Fixed Scissorbot’s through-hole grip of rings
- Fixed scoring bugs with floor goals (CS2N Competition)
- Gripperbot’s range of motion is now limited to make it specialized for picking up rings from the ground and scoring on low pegs
- Added final score popups in Ring It Up mode
- Fixed bugs with the behavior of rings that are hanging on pegs
- Made “remember me” checkbox on login screen work properly
- Added score submission for CS2N Competition
RVW Level Builder 2.1.0
CS2N is also hosting a RVW Level Builder design competition, called Beacons and Barriers. Click here to sign up and see full competition details.
Changes in this version of the RVW Level Builder:
- Added “checkpoint” functionality. Robots must come into contact with checkpoints before reaching the stop tile.
- Added “obstacle” functionality. Robots must not come into contact with obstacles before reaching the stop tile.
We are excited to announce that our official Robotics Summer of Learning page is live!
The 2013 Robotics Summer of Learning (RSOL) is sponsored by Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Academy and uses the Computer Science Student Network (CS2N) to host all trainings, with additional resources provided by Robomatter Inc. and other organizations. This summer, students and teachers will have the opportunity to develop programming skills, earn certifications, and win prizes. Software, training, certifications, and the competitions will all be hosted online for free through the Robotics Academy.
Check out all the great tools and features we will be offering through the Robotics Summer of Learning…
FREE Modified FTC and VEX Programming Games
We have developed fun new “programming only” robotics games that take advantage of current VEX and FTC games. Multiple elements have been added to the game interface and field including; colored lines and tiles, IR beacons, walls, automatic loading zones, the ability to reset and reprogram your robot while still playing the match, and many more! The game’s time is tracked using the Robot Virtual Worlds’ Internal Timer. The games are played by placing objects into scoring positions as quickly as possible.
Earn Badges and a Certification
Carnegie Mellon has developed Digital Badges and Certifications designed to represent a student’s programming and robot problem solving accomplishments. Each Badge contains information to help others understand what a student knows: who awarded it, who recognizes it, when they earned it, and links to example student code, their videos, their scores, the types of questions they answered, or other information designed to show off their accomplishments.
Free Training and Support
Training will be provided to all students and teachers through the Robotics Summer of Learning by the developers of the curriculum and software. Our team will also be available throughout the summer to take questions on all our social media sites.
CS2N RVW Competitive Events
Each Robotics Summer of Learning Project competition is divided into three divisions: Junior High, High School, and Open Division.
Players can only compete in the appropriate division:
- Junior High – Students in 6th through 9th grade.
- High School – Rising 10th graders through rising 12th graders. (9th, 10th, 11th grade graduates)
- Open Division – High school graduate and above.
You can find further details about each competition at www.cs2n.org/competitions.
There are over $10,000 in prizes available to participants, including free software, robot kits, and $100 and $500 College Scholarships.
The RVW challenge is broken into two parts:
- Part One – 2013 Robotics Summer of Learning Project, which ends Saturday, August 31st, 2013.
- Part Two – RVW CS2N Robot Programming Challenge, which begins September 1, 2013.
More information will be made available about the type and number of each type of prize at CS2N.org.
- Today: Players can create a CS2N account and download the software.
- June 1: Official launch of the Summer of Learning courses and forums.
- June 17: The instructor led online course will begin the third week of June.
- August 31: RSOLP completed and prizes will be announced.
- September 1: RVW CS2N Robot Programming Challenge begins.
- September 6: RSOLP competition winners will be announced and first round prizes will be distributed.
- April 2014: The Official CS2N FTC and VEX Robot Virtual World winners will be announced.
We hope every one has an enjoyable summer learning how to program!!
During Teacher Appreciation Week, we challenged students to send us stories about their awesome robotics teachers, mentors, and coaches. We received some great stories and are excited to announce the top three stories!! Each teacher will receive a 365-day classroom license for Robot Virtual Worlds. Below are the list of winners and the stories submitted by the students.
You think you’ve seen awesome but you haven’t met Miss Liberty! In 2009 she convinced our elementary school principal to let her start a robotics class. At first, she volunteered her time to teach 24 of us after school (we were in 3rd and 4th grade)…it was so much fun! She made learning how to program seem really easy. We used both NXT-G and ROBOTC.
Then, she loved doing it so much, she founded a STEM non-profit to start robotics and engineering programs throughout our community. She gave a ton of her time to help start robotics programs at elementary, middle, and high schools and then her “robot fever” spread to the neighboring school districts. She began teaching at multiple schools, starting FIRST teams at all levels, and helping us realize there was more we could do with our future then we ever thought possible.
In our community, because of her passion, we now have three school districts with: 4 high schools with actual engineering and robotics elective classes, 3 middle schools with engineering/robotics electives, and two elementary schools with technology rotations of programming with robotics. To top if off, she recruited other awesome teachers to help with the after school programs and every year there are over 32 schools who have full-time robotics teams…all because she rocks. (oh…and she helped the Palm Springs Air Museum raise over $400,000 to build a technology center for kids who want to do robotics, but it isn’t offered at their school!).
Well, we aren’t in elementary school anymore, but she continues to open up her house for our rag-tag group in addition to all the classes she teaches. We love her so much. She is enthusiastic about making sure we “learn how to learn”; thinking critically about everything we work on, from strategy, to psuedocoding, to prototyping out designs. She always answers our questions with questions, and has a neat way of helping us break down complex issues into tiny bite-size pieces.
But best of all, she encourages us to be “Fruitloops in a World Full of Cheerios” and challenges us to the best of who we can be and embrace our quirkiness.
Yeah…Miss Liberty is awesome!!!!!
“We know what we are, but not what we may be.” – Hamlet Act IV Scene V
A life beyond what we can perceive is a tall tale to tell indeed. The future is uncertain, opaque, and daunting. We can never truly grasp what it entails, and it often seems unreachable. Yet visions and plans of a future that we may influence lie entirely in our hands, and these dreams may be brought to reality through the wisdom, guidance and eccentric nature of one great man. Mr Graham Conlon is truly a delight to all. His enthusiasm, insight, good-humour and remarkable wit has propelled our team onwards and upwards to unimaginable renown. Whilst this may be marked as pretentious, there are no delusions of grandeur here. Mr Conlon has been a wonderful and exemplary mentor, showing us that with careful organisation, a calm approach, and a dry joke or two, we can affect and shape a collective future for the team. Regardless of the final outcome, we are taught that the journey that we embark on as a team is far more significant; That growing and developing as a team has more value than success. He centers our main focus around building an exceptional team that can then build, control and influence an exceptional robot. From there, the rest is our own doing.
Mentor from Reseda Regents Robotics
*We have not got official word from this coach to use his name in the article, so it has been removed from the story.
I do not write to you today about a mentor of my team, at least not a formal mentor. Instead I write of VRC#20 mentor. I recall him asking why I “wasn’t smiling” very much during the 2011 world championships as he handed me a completed score sheet with a win for red alliance. I find it strange; that single comment brightened the rest of the competition for me (even though I wasn’t sad, just tired) and forever made me a bit appreciative of what he does for robotics. Each year, my team (VRC#599) hosts a VEX tournament for teams in our area that services around 40 teams each year. As such a large event, we draw volunteers from numerous sources and rely heavily on volunteer support. Amongst the volunteers stand STEM teachers, college teachers, students, engineers, and parents. At my very first event, I knew the volunteers from my team and no one else. Within a year I recognized each face and knew each volunteer by name. I see the Reseda Regents Robotics mentor in the morning donning the bright Reseda Regents blue. Just as soon as his team is registered, the Reseda Regents Robotics mentor has put on the striped referee shirt. At every event, he does the same. You see him in bright blue, you see him in black and white. One would expect his black and white referee uniform to juxtapose his Reseda shirt just as the black juxtaposes the white. One would expect an on/off relationship of volunteer to coach; a relationship that leads him to coach his team and volunteer as two separate entities. His Reseda blue very well may be the black and white of the Referee shirt or the gray of a volunteer shirt. In everything he does, he presents a team that inspires. Reseda blue stands out amongst the field reset crew. Reseda blue stands out amongst the queueing team. Reseda blue stands out amongst the half assembled fields. Reseda blue stands out amongst my Robodox green. Reseda blue stands out because team 20, Reseda Regents Robotics, and everyone else emulate an outstanding mentor and teacher whose Reseda blue stands out amongst everything he does.
Account provided by Chris Miranda of VRC#599, Robodox
Thank you to every one who sent in their stories and thank you to ALL teachers, mentors, and coach for everything you do for your students!
I’d like to welcome a new section to our blog called Teacher’s POV (Point of View) that will allow guest bloggers who are teachers, mentors, and coaches to share some of the lessons they have learned while teaching robotics. Our first guest blogger is a good friend to the ROBOTC family, Jason McKenna, a K-8 Gifted Support Teacher in the Hopewell Area School District outside of Pittsburgh, PA. He has been kind enough to put together some blogs about his experiences teaching robotics.
As teachers, we are constantly looking for ways to make the subjects that we are teaching relevant. Students are always asking when they will ever use a particular concept, or how what they are learning applies to a real life scenario. Admittedly, teachers sometimes have a hard time answering those questions.
Thankfully, teaching Robotics and computer programming puts those questions to rest. Because technology is so ubiquitous in students’ lives, students will immediately see the benefits of learning how to program. Moreover, Robotics is the perfect platform to show the application of math and science concepts to everyday scenarios.
In addition to all of that stuff that we educators like to talk about, students just have fun programming a robot to do something. Add in the allure of some competition, and you have yourself a pretty engaged classroom.
With that in mind, I decided to have my 8th grade students participate in a line following car race. Students were to program their robots to follow a line as fast as possible. Of course, the trick is the robot has to stay on the line. While following a black line, the robot has to decide (using a light sensor) if it is on the black line or on the white part of the mat. For the competition, the students added some PID concepts to their line following. As many of you already know, PID is used in many control systems, from your car, to your homes, to large scale factories. The students and I discussed how PID is basically a control system that tries to calculate an error and make adjustments to a control system based upon that error. The robot calculates an error (how far it is off the black line) and then makes adjustments to the motor speed based upon the error. That is what makes it proportional: the movement is based upon the error. Large error equals a large correction whereas a smaller error creates a smaller correction.
The students were able to apply some of the concepts they are currently learning in Algebra to their program. For example, they are utilizing the slope intercept formula (y=mx+b) to find their turn. Y is the turn distance, x is the light sensor reading (the error), and m is the change in y (maximum and minimum turning power) divided by the change in x (maximum and minimum light sensor reading). Students get to apply an important math concept to a fun and engaging scenario that has real-world applications.
The students then decided that they wanted to see what would happen with two light sensors. The students adjusted their code, conducted some iterative testing, and surveyed their results.
In conclusion, one really sees how Robotics and ROBOTC meld perfectly with the goals of a STEM classroom. Really, the only limitation is a teacher’s (and students’) imagination.
- Jason McKenna
Thank you Jason! If you are a teacher who would like to share your experiences on our blog, send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Top Images - Code designed by Brennan Novak, Teacher designed by Juan Pablo Bravo, and Robot designed by Simon Child all from The Noun Project.
We LOVE summers here at ROBOTC, and one of the main reasons for that is we get to meet tons of awesome teachers, mentors, and coaches at our ROBOTC Professional Development training courses! It’s our chance to meet our users and make sure they’re equipped with a solid foundation in ROBOTC programming to take back with them for a successful new school year; and it’s your chance to meet our team, ask questions, and give us feedback. We have separate courses for LEGO & TETRIX and VEX CORTEX with the option to take the class on-site or online.
Benefits of our On-site courses includes:
✓ Provided hardware and the ROBOTC software in our classrooms.
✓ Over 30+ hours of hands on experience.
✓ Training provided by the developers of the curriculum and software.
✓ Custom course content: We adjust the course to the skill level and desires of the participants.
✓ Mapping of robotics curriculum with national standards.
✓ Tour of the National Robotics Engineering Center.
✓ ACT 48 Credits (for PA teachers.)
✓ Certificate of completion for course “Graduates.”
✓ Lunch provided at no additional cost.
Enjoy these benefits with our Online Training:
✓ Convenient online training from your home or school via the Internet.
✓ Online access to video training material and supplemental lessons from CMU’s Robotics Academy.
✓ 24/7 access to class forums and message boards (monitored regularly.)
✓ Screen sharing and live discussion amongst the class.
✓ Technical support for all hardware and software used in the class.
✓ Networking opportunities with other professional educators.
In every Professional Development course, you will have the opportunity to take the certification exam to become a “Robotics Academy Certified Instructor.”
Contact email@example.com to learn more!
- Does this course offer college credit?
- The course offers continuing education credit and documents that you have participated in 36 hours worth of instruction at Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Academy. It is not a college credit course.
- What happens if I don’t pass the certification test?
- The certification test is offered after you complete the course. If you don’t pass the certification test, you will have the opportunity to retake the exam one month later.
- Can I use Robot Virtual Worlds in my classroom?
- How do I register for the course?
- Go to Professional Development Robotics Academy Classes 2013 and follow the instructions.
- Does the Robotics Academy take Purchase Orders?
- When should I register?
- As soon as possible. The courses are limited to 24 students per class and will fill up quickly.
- When are courses offered?
- You can find a list of all classes available here – Professional Development Robotics Academy Classes 2013
All ROBOTC related training is listed below:
June – August 2013
In preparation for the 2013 Robotics Summer of Learning, we’ve released updates for the Palm Island (v2.1.0), Operation Reset (v3.1.0), Curriculum Companion (v2.4.0), and Level Builder (v2.0.11) Virtual Worlds!
In Palm Island, Operation Reset, and the Curriculum Companion, we’ve added two highly-requested features: Graphics Quality Control and Update Notifications.
Graphics Quality Control
In the Options section of each virtual world, we’ve added a new Graphics Quality setting. Choosing LOW (FASTER) will reduce the visual quality of the virtual environment, but will allow the virtual worlds to run more smoothly on older computers. MEDIUM is the default setting and is a balanced choice between quality and speed on most computers. Choosing HIGH (SLOWER) will improve the visual quality and is the most resource intensive; it is only recommended if you have a newer computer with a dedicated graphics card.
If your computer is connected to the Internet and you log in using your CS2N account in the virtual world, it will now check if there is a newer version of the virtual world available. If an update is available, a notification about the new version appears with a DOWNLOAD NOW button. Simply press it to download the latest version available!
RVW Level Builder
We also updated the RVW Level Builder! We have improved the performance of the menus and fixed an issue where line tracking tiles were getting “stuck” once they were placed. Thank you to everyone who has sent in feedback! We’ve also released a series of videos to help get started with the Level Builder:
The updates can be downloaded from the RVW Level Packs Download area at ROBOTC.net or RobotVirtualWorlds.com.
We are very excited to share details on ROBOTC 4.0!! This version of ROBOTC will be getting a lot of new features as well as some enhancements to favorite tools already included. Also included in this upgrade will be support for new hardware platforms, including the new VEX IQ and LEGO EV3.
Planned Features in 4.0:
- Overhauled Natural Language functionality to make learning how to program even easier.
- Motors and sensor setup that will automatically detect devices (with supported platforms/devices.)
- Enhanced drag and drop capability with our function library for new users.
- Updated text editor with code collapsing, improved auto-complete, and more user customizability.
- Even more sample programs to help users get started, including samples for new platforms and advanced programming concepts!
- Support for both VEX Cortex and VEX IQ in ROBOTC for VEX Robotics 4.0
- Support for both NXT and EV3 in ROBOTC for LEGO MINDSTORMS 4.0
- No-Cost standalone version of ROBOTC for VEX PIC for legacy users.
Pricing and final availability for 4.0 has not been finalized; however customers can feel secure buying ROBOTC today knowing they will get a full ROBOTC 4.0 upgrade as soon as it is available.
Current ROBOTC Users Upgrade Details:
- 3.0 Perpetual Users (who purchased in 2013): No upgrade fee! Full purchase price will be applied towards same type of license for 4.0.
- 3.0 Annual Users (who purchased in 2013): 50% discount on equivalent 4.0 License
- 3.0 Perpetual Users (who purchase before 2013): 50% discount on equivalent 4.0 License
If you own a license to ROBOTC 3.xx – You can continue to use 3.xx for as long as you would like (assuming you have a perpetual license) – the software will not stop working once 4.xx is released. However, if you wish to use the features and platforms available in ROBOTC 4.xx, you will have to purchase an upgrade at a significant discount.
Upgrades will be available for up to 6 months after the official release of ROBOTC 4.0. Stay tuned to the ROBOTC.net Blog – We will be releasing free beta versions throughout the Summer and will announce final pricing and availability details in the near future.
Teacher Appreciation Week is May 6th – 10th and we are celebrating! We LOVE all teachers and appreciate everything they do for their students! Here at the Robotics Academy, we have a special place in our hearts for robotics teachers, mentors and coaches, so this year we want to make sure they get the attention they deserve.
Do you know an amazing robotics teacher, mentor, or coach? Let us know who they are and why they are AWESOME! Send us your best story, pictures, and/or video about this person to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will share several of these stories on the CMU’s Robotics Academy blog during Teacher Appreciation Week. And the Top Three Stories, voted by us, will each WIN one Classroom Annual License for Robot Virtual Worlds for their teacher/mentor/coach!
Stories must be submitted by Wednesday, May 8th at 5pm Eastern Standard Time. We will announce the winners on Friday, May 10, 2013.
Please include contact information (name and email/school phone number) for the teacher, mentor, or coach that you’re writing about so we can make sure to get their permission to publish their name on our site. You can send any questions to email@example.com.
We recently added a great new feature to our Robot Virtual Worlds … the Measurement Toolkit! There is no more guessing on how far a robot needs to travel to solve programming problems. It allows for intelligent path planning and navigation. You can now have students do the math, show their work, and explain how they solved the problems.
Check out our newest video that talks about what the measurement toolkit can do in RVW!
We will be hosting our final April Robot Virtual Worlds Google hangout tonight at 6pm EST! We will be discussing the competition environments in RVW. This will be your last chance to enter the ROBOTC annual license drawing and get your 15% off discount code for Robot Virtual Worlds! Join us at http://www.robotc.net/hangouts
If you missed any of that past hangouts, check them out here …
Week 1 – What is RVW?
Week 2 – Curriculum Companion
Week 3 – Level Builder with Model Importer
Week 4 – Gaming Environments
Week 5 – Competition Environments