The Origins of Educational Robots
I finished the design of my first robot, the Valiant Turtle, in 1983. That year the BBC’s Science and Philosophy TV series, Horizon aired “Talking Turtle”. This documentary introduced the public to LOGO and its companion the Turtle. LOGO is a computer language designed specifically for education. It is the first example of what we call a low floor high ceiling system. This means it is simple and easy for young children to start, but can challenge much older gifted students. The Turtle robot is a part of LOGO. It was the first educational robot. This video gives you a glimpse of the inventor of educational robots, Seymour Papert. What was his ideas and motivations?
Give Peace a Chance
Well we have robot attack droids why not robots for peace. Over the 30 year history of Valiant’s Turtle type robots there have been many instances where Roamer has dealt with volatile students. How does Roamer do it? There are deep psychological theories, anthropological evidence, ideas of culture and semiotics – even Aristotle’s theory of mimesis working away in the background. At a more mundane level Roamer engages students in what the Principles of Educational Robotic Applications (ERA) call Sustainable Learning (aka Lifelong Learning Skills). In the UK this appears in curriculum as PSHE (Personal, Social, and Health Education) and Citizenship. These skills are what you are left with, a decade after school, when you forgotten what a binomial theorem was, and never knew why you learnt it in the first place. Roamer can help you learn things like the binomial theorem in a more memorable way, and it does that in a way that develops your PSHE. In doing this it touches aims and objectives of the EU’s Pledge to Peace. This posting presents the videos relevant to this ongoing project.
Roamer Links Culture and Mathematics
From earlier days of Roamers could not stop dancing. The timing, movement, rhythm of dance are natural indications of the human capacity for mathematics. The whirling of a Dervish, the energy of a Irish jig, or the invention and spontaneity of street dances – all are forms of cultural and generational expression. Programming Roamers to dance links this to geometry, algebra, symmetry… an endless list of mathematical concepts.
Dave Catlin and Dr John Woollard of Southampton University wrote a paper on Educational Robots and Computational for the conference TRTWR & RIE 2014, Padua, Italy. This conference brought together two educational research groups: Teaching Robotics and the Teaching with Robotics and Robotics in Education. This is a version of the presentation of the paper delivered by Dave Catlin on the 18th of July.
An Artistic Approach to STEM
As far back as 1989 Valiant pioneered an activity based on children creating a movies using Roamers as the characters. The result was Coodie’s Circus. The task involved students writing scripts, creating backdrops and Roamer characters. They programmed the Roamers to act the parts and provided voice overs. But in those days the video production – filming, editing etc. – was left to Valiant. Now of course not only do schools have video cameras, kids have mobile phones with video capability, but most video editing software is commonplace inexpensive or free. The Robotic Performing Arts project aims to engage students in STEM related activities through making robot movies. This project reports on these early pilot efforts.