Robots in the curriculum

Teach Meet#3 was hosted at Bickley Park School by Robert Cobb assisted ably by some students. The focus today was on coding. Specifically the Robot Dancing challenge which pairs an original score composed in GarageBand with the coded movements of the Jimu MeeBot. The Robot can be purchased from Apple stores but GarageBand is free with iPad. The availability of two dedicated Playgrounds in Swift makes this an ideal way to introduce students to using both block coding and swift language.

Watch this clip to see how to get started with your students on the Robot Dancing Challenge.


The session began with a run through of the timeline for the Digital Genius Challenges. The showcase for the students at the Annual Education Summit is in the diary for June 15th 2018, so there’s a lot of creating, collaborating and composing time! Deadlines for the final submission of work will be May 14th 2018, but student work can be submitted from now via email to vickiebacon@solutions-inc.co.uk.

 

As with all Digital Genius Challenges, it’s not just about the wow moments with a limited group of students. Moreover, it’s about working to develop links to the wider curriculum and to find ways to engage teachers and expose to the digital possibilities. Today’s Teach meet masterclass revolved around this very subject. Delivered by Rob, Deputy Head, who eloquently explained how he has integrated robotics and particularly Lego in to Bickley Park’s computer science curriculum. His students code routinely and work with Lego components to build on their skill set by having the opportunity to explore through experimentation and challenge. The students love it as one boy explains…

 

Here’s a flavour of Rob’s Masterclass.


During the workshop there was lots of discussion around how robotics was shaping the minds of the students. From the earliest years using BeeBots, through to Sphero, Meebots and Lego’s Educational offers of WeDo2 and Mindstorms. This can be extended into Swift Playgrounds where the third party devices deepen understanding of coding protocols. Some schools are reporting that the uptake of girls into computer science is attributable to the accessibility and foundations laid using Swift on iPad. Many teachers take on their own challenge to become an Apple Teacher with Swift Playgrounds, which motivates students to become even more amazing!



Rob addressed the question of cost and the consensus was that affordability is eased when the computational thinking aspects are linked in a cross curricular way. Creative teachers extending the possibilities to include robotics and coding into all areas of the curriculum. The students lead the way here by embracing the Digital Genius Challenges! So don’t leave the expensive kit in a box waiting for the one hit lesson in the summer term! Be creative, innovate and make your lessons inspirational.


We also discussed age limits of the challenges. Although the MeeBot box says age 8, the app which accompanies it is rated 4+, students are ready for the coding when they can access it. I’m 50 and I enjoyed the challenge of building, coding and making the MeeBot dance! All the Digital Genius Challenges are purposely set so that all ages can attempt them, whether at a less sophisticated level or with extreme ingenuity and aplomb.

So thank you Rob – your Robotic masterclass was exactly that, masterly.

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