Robotics at Oakington has moved to another level, with the Nao robots. In February 2015 we were introduced to the latest additions to the Oakington family, RedCandy, Redcurrent and Bluey.
The children from the Coding club were the first to be introduced to our three robots as they were the team who are going to be the champions to help train other children on how to use the Choregraphe software to program the robots. Already Ms Vanderpuye had programed RedCandy to demonstrate a few things in sequence this included saying ‘Hello Ms V’.
Every Monday during Coding club the 15 children from years 3,4,5,and 6 attend the club and try different things with the robots. So far children have been able to program them to say a variety of things, dance Tai Chi, stand up, sit down and walk with another child across the ICT suite.
Although, currently KS2 have been programming our robots, Nursery and Reception have also been introduced to them. Meanwhile Year 1 and 2 have been learning about algorithms and coding using a number of apps which include: Daisy the Dinosaur, BeeBot, A.L.E.X and Fix the Factory as their starting point. Children in Year 2 love using A.L.E.X as the app not only allows them to face the challenges set out in the game levels, but they can create their own levels and challenges for their friends to play. It’s fabulous!
Robotics Club started in the Spring term 2013 following year 5’s topic of Control Technology. The year group were inspired by the use of Yenka and Flowol 2, some of whom having exceptional skills at programming dance sequences and traffic light simulations.
Setting up the Robotics Club was a move back to the past when Oakington was leading the way in teaching children programming skills. We used to present, back in the late 90’s at the Acorn User Show which was held at the Wembley Conference Centre for many years. Even back then our Lego Technic cities with ‘ferris wheels’ automatic gates, home-made traffic lights and synthesised speech modules were all the rage in the classroom. The Coco software helped make the process easier as it was a very intuitive piece of software which had the class laughing their heads off at hearing the programmed speech trying to phonetically say ‘Hello Miss Van-der-pu-i-ye’. It was very funny- the children used to try and copy the robotic speech and the class used to disintegrate into a fit of laughter at the attempts of various children.
Later in 2006, we were fortunate enough to be a pilot school for the launch of the Lego NXT Mindstorms robot. This was certainly something from the movies.
Today, robotics is still a fun way to get the children problem solving with a purpose. Lego Wedo has helped in getting enthusiastic in their own learning and problem solving. The children attend twice a week and are set challenges on the models they build. The teacher facilitates the sessions but rarely has any input until the problem can’t be solved. Wow – the discussions and negotiations that go on are amazing. The most fantastic part of this, is when one of the groups shout – ‘IT WORKS!’