Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Continuity - K-12

We at Robotics And Beyond have been "doing" robotics with kids for over eight years. The majority of those kids are in middle school, roughly 11,12,13, and 14 year olds. One thing we've noticed is that when it comes to programming and sensors and electronics, there is a huge knowledge and experience variance among the first timers.

Some kids have no idea what a resistor is, others have soldered together an electronic kit they got for their birthday. When asked to think of a sensor that might be useful for a robot to have, some kids will stare back at you in silence, while others will begin rattling off a whole list of sensors (usually the ones that came standard with their LEGO Mindstorms kit). Then there is programming, it seems again that the only the kids who have an experience or knowledge are those that have a robotics kit at home.

Robotics is a field that encompasses so many other science and engineering fields, and it is a field that seems to capture the interests of so many people - young and old. Why then don't we make use of it more in schools?  Is it because there is equipment to buy and schools just don't have the money? Is it because the teachers and administrators don't have enough knowledge and experience themselves and feel intimidated by it? Is it because teachers and administrators feel it is too complex to be taught as a single subject?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

It's all about communication

Wouldn't it be nice if the LEGO NXT could communicate with the Parallax Basic Stamp? I know there is BlueTooth capability on both platforms, but I am looking for something more substantial. An RF module perhaps? It would open up a world of possibilities. It would give the NXT access to all of the Parallax sensors, and it would give Parallax access to the easy-to-build world of LEGO.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Here is an idea

Wouldn't it be fun to have a very simple data collection and analysis tool that kids or teachers, or home schoolers, or anyone could use?
It would be a simple webpage that requires just one or two simple data entry fields. Once the data is saved, other bits of data are also collected - things like the date and time, the type of browser, and maybe even the ipaddress. Then as more and more people visit the webpage, there would be more and more data to analyze.

There could be statistical analysis, time series analysis, geographical analysis, plus all sorts of analysis based on the data entry values.

Would this be a great starting point for a class? Imagine a math, or statistics, or a probability class where the students could enter their data and see how it compares to the universe of collected data.

We're thinking about starting something like this....so stay tuned...we may be asking you to visit.