Although it was their first such event they may well be described as ‘half seasoned’ competitors because they had already put their skills to the test at the National Robot Programming Team Championship earlier this year. In short they’ve accomplished a great deal in a short time.
BISB began offering the Creative Robot Club at the beginning of this school year. Students who showed an interest immediately began designing and constructing different structures and ‘creatures’ and rapidly developed knowledge how to bring them ‘alive’ and to program them independently.
Students are able to attach sensors to their creations so that it can ‘see’ light and infrared signals, distinguish colours and recognise and measure the distance from objects. Robots are able to ‘hear’ sounds and respond to touch. Programming the robot comes relatively naturally for today’s students because the fundamentals of the icon based instruction sets are intuitively and easily managed. Obviously more experience and added effort can elevate students to the higher echelons of coding but having said that the most important things are a passion for what they are doing and having fun. Working as a team on projects and designing structures and devices to find a solution for specific problems and challenges is key.
To be successful in a robotics competition there to be needs innovative thinking, focused preparation, practice and the stamina to seek better solutions. Robotics has been a rapidly developing field and smart devices and autonomous machines are becoming more and more a part of our lives not just in space and military technologies but in households almost everywhere.
Lego robotics has already been introduced in the secondary and will shortly make its way into the primary during lesson time. The club allocation for robotics will also be extended into the primary school in the school year.
One of the BISB parents’ commented about the Creative Robot Club saying: "Although I have built a career in high-tech information technology, I was fascinated to see how advanced these youngsters were and the amazing results they have achieved in such a short period of time. I was particularly impressed by how quickly Joseph has managed to engage and inspire these children and elevate them to a level where they were able to credibly challenge far more experienced competitors. What also surprised me was Lego robotics isn't really about technology, but more like using a tablet or smartphone. I see the real educational and experiential value coming from stimulating children to think creatively, work effectively in teams, as well as better understanding and solving problems by developing strategic approaches and quickly responding to tactical challenges."