Archive for the ‘robotc’ tag
Every year at Worlds, we get to meet some amazingly talented students. This year was no different! One of those students was the lead programmer and captain for the all-girls VEX team 355E, Mia Garbaccio. She is an avid programmer with an organized binder of code that impressed the entire ROBOTC team. Check out her story and programming binder in this interview:
Are you a ROBOTC student who wants to share your story with us? If so, send us an email at
Every student who completes a ROBOTC Summer of Learning course will have the opportunity to take a ROBOTC Student Certification Exam! This certificate will represent a student’s programming and robot problem solving accomplishments.
Throughout the course, the student will earn badges as they successfully complete challenges. Each badge contains information to help others understand what a student knows: who awarded it, who recognizes it, when they earned it, links to example student code, their videos, their scores, the types of questions they answered, or other information designed to show off their accomplishments.
At the very end of the course, students will have the opportunity to take an exam. This certification exam will consist of 125 questions to be completed in 100 minutes. Students will need to earn a score of 70% or higher in order to earn the certification.
Every student enrolled in one of our Robotics Summer of Learning class will have the option of taking the ROBOTC for LEGO or the ROBOTC for VEX student certification exam. Sign up for a class today:
And don’t forget about our free ROBOTC live training, starting Monday, June 17th:
Starting Monday, June 17th, our free online classes will begin for the Robotics Summer of Learning. The ROBOTC team will show you the best ways to get started using ROBOTC and answer your questions LIVE! The goals for these classes is to support you, our users, and help you earn a ROBOTC certification!
The classes and Q&A sessions will take place throughout the summer on WebEx at the times listed below. The length of the class will be based on how many questions we need to answer.
How to Sign Up:
1. Register for Summer of Learning - Choose one of the following Robotics Summer of Learning Courses and sign up!
2. Choose a WebEx Course - Join your choice of WebEx courses 30 minutes before scheduled course begins:
If you would like to ask questions during the live class, make sure to have a USB headset. You can also submit your questions before and during each class through the ROBOTC forum or our social media sites.
We’ve recently been made aware of a bug in the recently released ROBOTC version 3.61. The bug would cause the IDE to generate an ‘Improper Argument’ window if the ‘Joystick Control – Competition’ Debugger Window was opened while ROBOTC was in LEGO NXT + TETRIX/MATRIX mode, and could subsequently crash the IDE.
If you are using ROBOTC for LEGO MINDSTORMS 3.61 and have encountered the bug, please make sure to manually download and apply the new update from ROBOTC’s NXT downloads page. Other versions of ROBOTC 3.61 are not affected.
ROBOTC is the premiere robotics programming language for educational robotics and competitions. ROBOTC is a C-Based Programming Language with an Easy-to-Use Development Environment. ROBOTC 3.61 contains three major updates, as shown in the changelog below.
You can download it here.
3.60 to 3.61 Changelog
- NEW Joystick Configuration Utility – Added compatibility for custom joystick configurations; the Joystick Configuration Utility can now be used to configure a wide variety of controllers for use with ROBOTC. Read about it on the Custom Joystick Controls page on the ROBOTC wiki!
- Fixed Samostat.c sample program – There was a typo in the ‘nxtDisplayTextLine(status.nLine, “%s”, status.message);’ line of the Samostat.c program in ROBOTC 3.60 that prevented it from working properly. This has been fixed in 3.61.
- Updated Robot Virtual Worlds Curriculum Companion Tables – ROBOTC now includes the latest update of the Curriculum Companion Tables which added Quality Control Settings and now provides Update Notifications as well. Find out more about recent RVW updates here.
Schuyler Horky caught our attention with his detailed and fun ROBOTC tutorial videos. He has been working on a 10 part ROBOTC for NXT video tutorial series for the past three months to help local students and teachers with programming. We got a chance to talk with Schuyler to find out more about his programming experience….
Where are you from? What grade are you in?
I am from Monroe Washington, and I am a participant in my state’s Running Start program so that I can attend community college while still in high school. That being said, I am a senior in high school and a freshman in college
How long have you been a ROBOTC user?
I have used ROBOTC for MINDSTORMS for five years, and ROBOTC for VEX for four years.
What made you start using ROBOTC?
What made me start to use ROBOTC was my passion for electronics. ROBOTC was the easiest way to experiment with custom sensors, including I2C. At age 13, making my NXT support more motors and sensors brought me into the world of digital electronics, object oriented programming, and engineering.
What do you think of the software?
ROBOTC is the best way for any beginner to start programming, particularly with robotics. The real time debugging capabilities need a few tweaks, but just the fact that ROBOTC has it, is a huge advantage to alternative products. The absolute best thing about ROBOTC is the help menu. Every programming language I have learned has a good digital repository and RobotC is no exception. If I want to learn how to use a certain function, example code and a lengthy explanation are always at my fingertips.
What made you decide to create these tutorial videos?
At my local K-12 home school co-op program, I volunteer to help a math teacher teach programming, coach FLL teams, and mentor VEX robotics teams. In the off-season, I normally teach ROBOTC to the middle school students, getting them ready for more advanced LEGO projects and our VEX robotics teams. This year though, since my programming internship and three college classes per quarter have taken a bit out of my schedule, I cannot help as much, so I create tutorials so that the teacher can use them as curriculum.
ROBOTC is the best way to get excited about programming in C. The cross platform support means that you won’t have to re-learn anything when moving from NXT to VEX, or VEX to Arduino. ROBOTC can take you as a beginner and make you a proficient programmer. ROBOTC offers a huge repository of documentation and example code, powerful low-level functions, in addition to quick compile time, real time debugging, and extended 3rd party support.
Thanks so much to Schuyler for taking the time to answer our questions!! You can find his entire YouTube playlist tutorial series here – ROBOTC for NXT Tutorial
Do you have a cool project or video you want to share with us? If so, send us an email at email@example.com.
We continue the new section to our blog called Teacher’s POV (Point of View) with another post by Jason McKenna, a K-8 Gifted Support Teacher in the Hopewell Area School District outside of Pittsburgh, PA. He took the time to give some examples of how you can use Robot Virtual Worlds in your classroom.
Robot Virtual Worlds is a powerful tool to teach ROBOTC to students. The unofficial motto for Robot Virtual Worlds is “No Robot, no problem.” That is absolutely true. If you are just starting a robotics program, or if your budget just can’t handle the cost of physical robots, Robot Virtual Worlds is a powerful tool for teachers.
However, the use of Robot Virtual Worlds is not just limited to replacing physical robots. Even if you have dozens of physical robots at your disposal, Robot Virtual Worlds can still be a powerful addition to your curriculum. Here are some examples:
- Differentiating Instruction. One of the hardest things for a teacher to do is to teach to where each individual student currently is in the curriculum. Robot Virtual Worlds allows teachers to do this. Let’s say you have a student that is struggling to learn some of the beginning ROBOTC concepts and another that is breezing through the curriculum. With Robot Virtual Worlds, you can easily create a challenge for each student. Creating a challenge for a student is easy. A new challenge can always be created in the Robot Virtual World Level Builder. Additionally, if students are working in Palm Island or Operation Reset, one student can program their robot to make turns while using timing, and the student that is progressing faster can be shown how to use the Gyro Sensor. In this manner, a teacher can differentiate instruction within the SAME lesson. That is the goal for all educators, and it can be achieved easily with Robot Virtual Worlds. To use another example, let’s say a student quickly solves a basic movement challenge (ex. Robot Slalom) with a physical robot. Instead of having to wait for the rest of the class to finish, that student can use the Curriculum Companion Pack to solve the same challenge virtually. Only now, the student can use encoder values to move precise distances, instead of just timing.
- Teaching to Mastery. Because Robot Virtual Worlds allows you to teach programming concepts faster (Physical vs Virtual Programming Fall 2012 Study Results), it also affords teachers the opportunity to present more repeated practice to the students. Missions in both Operation Reset and Palm Island reinforce all of the fundamentals of programming that are found in the ROBOTC Curriculum. For instance, if a student has just learned how to line follow with their physical robot, they can then complete missions in both Operation Reset and Palm Island that also require line following.
- Introduction to New Students. As teachers, our days are filled with the unexpected. One of the most challenging surprises is when you are told that you will have a new student in class because the student just moved to your district. Your class is 3 or 4 months into the ROBOTC curriculum, and your new student has no experience with ROBOTC at all. Here is where the Robot Virtual Worlds came be a lifesaver. Instead of having the student jump into whatever challenge the students are doing with physical robots, the student can watch the lessons from the ROBOTC Curriculum and complete the challenges in the Curriculum Companion Pack. After the student has begun to learn some of basics of ROBOTC, he/she can be introduced to the challenge that the rest of class is working on.
- Beginning of the School Year. When students return from summer break, some will have retained all or most of what was taught to them the previous year. Others will have retained far less. With this example, Robot Virtual Worlds can be used as a pre-assessment that can then be used to help direct that teacher’s instruction. For example, a teacher can create a challenge in the Robot Virtual World Level Builder that asks the students to utilize different programming concepts. By doing this, a teacher can see what skills need to be reviewed and what skills the students have retained. This is a tremendous time-saver. Most teachers work under the assumption that they had better review everything before moving on to a new concept. Using a pre-assessment eliminates this need. Robot Virtual Worlds are a perfect fit for this pre-assessment.
- Robot Virtual Worlds Levels Builder. This is a great tool for, once again, those unexpected occurrences in the classroom. Let’s say you you’ve been pulled into a meeting without a previous notice. A substitute has been sent to your class for coverage. You’re a little hesitant to let the students practice with the physical robots because the students are just beginning and the sub will not be able to answer any of their questions. You don’t have time to introduce a challenge in one of the Virtual Worlds; therefore, you quickly tell the students to open the Levels Builder and tell them to create challenges for each other. The students are now engaged and busy, and you can proceed to your meeting.
Those are 5 quick ways that Robot Virtual Worlds can be a big help for any teacher, not matter how many physical robot a teacher may or may not have. Robot Virtual Worlds are not just a replacement for physical robots, they are a tremendous asset in and of themselves.
Unsure what Robot Virtual Worlds is? Check out this video …
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.
Vision systems are one of the more useful, albeit trickier, sensors that can be used in a robotics system. They allow a microcontroller to literally ‘see’ an object, its color, shape, and (in some cases) the material it is made from. They are used extensively almost anywhere an automated system needs to make a decision based on an object’s visual properties.
Fortunately, MindSensor’s NXTCam combined with Xander’s driver suite allows NXT users to quickly and easily program a vision system for their robots. ROBOTC forum member alain has recently created one of the basic NXTCam robots (a robot that will track a colored ball with relatively high accuracy) and was kind enough to share his programming journey on the ROBOTC forum and the video below.
If you’re interested in building your own color-tracking robot or have other, unique ideas for an NXT cam with ROBOTC, be sure to check out the Robotics Academy demo video for ideas on how the NXTCam can be used and the ROBOTC forum for coding help.
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!
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: