Automation, in the broadest sense, is everywhere we look. In the future, we will rely more and more on technology to improve health care, transportation and logistics and the production of goods. Even if you don’t pursue a technical career, you’ll be better off with an understanding of the tools that drive our modern society.
RoboMind is meant to be a first introduction to automation and programming without prerequisites. Because many different exercises can be done, the difficulty level can be tailored to students of various age and levels.
A great advantage for gifted students is that they can progress through the courses at their own pace. The self-contained courses have automatic validation and hints and a virtual mentor checks solutions and gives hints when needed to help them further. Most lessons further contain optional and more difficult challenges that allow the gifted student to delve deeper into the course material.
Apart from the courses, students can also do so called 'Community Challenges' (also checked by the virtual mentor) among which are some pretty difficult assignments. Even University Professors have been know to frown a couple of minutes over some of them, so gifted students should be able to amuse themselves creating solutions for these challenges. The course materials have been used by groups of gifted students in The Netherlands, and we have received enthusiastic feedback from both students and teachers.
US | CSTA K-12 Computer Science Standards, AP Comp Sci, Common Core State Standards (CCSS), and STEM education. |
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UK | computing programmes of study: keys stage level 1 to 3 |
NL | Ready for Computer Literacy and Technology Education, SLO (4,23,24,44,45), NLT (A,B,E,F) |
As students go through the courses, they get acquainted with the possibilities and impossibilities of programming and acquire insight into the power of logic. They will also gradually learn how a large problem can be solved by breaking it up into smaller pieces which can be solved more easily. This, of course, is a skill that comes in handy when doing other courses or studying other application areas.
Everybody in this country should learn to program because it teaches you how to think
— Steve Jobs
With programming, you learn how to automate repetitive tasks, transform perceptions into actions and come up with ways to make smart decisions, even if in unknown situations. However, purely teaching how to program is not our main goal.
When teaching a natural language, you do not aim to train students to become writers. When teaching math, pupils do not need to end up as mathematicians. With programming it is the same. You do not need to become a programmer to benefit from understanding fundamental concepts. That is why we rather talk about Computational Thinking...
Computational Thinking |
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Concepts |
Practices |
Perspectives |
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Programming | Mathematics | Problem solving | Creating solutions | Communication | Applications | Understanding |
Control flow (sequences, loops, conditionals, procedures), Syntax, Programming paradigms | Logic, Geometry, Algebra, Statistics | State space, Goals, Problem formulation, Search strategies, Solutions, Execution, Evaluation | Modelling, Abstracting, Debugging, Refactoring, Documentation | Project management, Pair programming, Sharing knowledge | Robotics, Art, Transportation, Logistics, Planning, Home automation | Explain working, Questioning solutions, Seeing Patterns: in Applications and across Domains |
Computational thinking is sometimes organized around three main aspects: Computational Concepts, Computational Practices, Computational Perspectives. The RoboMind Academy recognized seven areas that are covered.
For a fully self-contained step-by-step introduction which leads to validated Computational Thinking diplomas students can do the following courses:
Every lesson starts with a short multimedia presentation which highlights some aspects of what robots do and what their role is in society. In addition a brief explanation is given about the programming instructions used in the exercises and why these could be useful. Further quizzes are added to give more insight and make extra sure that everything is understood correctly. The introduction part takes about 15-20 minutes and can be given in the classroom (for example on a smartboard, Options: Show fullscreen) or independently by the student. The quizzes are certainly also fun to do with the whole class.
The workshop is a more concise programming introduction which can be done in place of the Basics 1 Course.
To continue, students can do the Community challenges, a set of increasingly difficult challenges. The more difficult challenges are better suited for older students at the high school-level. Since they are more able to learn by discovery, they can exploit the "Help" documentation (at the bottom of each challenge page) to solve these challenges. There they will find information about basic instructions, loops, conditions, logical Expressions, procedures, arithmetic, and variables.
Over 100 maps in the Map Chest give you the opportunity to create your own challenges to go with the maps. Or let the students use your own fantasy to make the robot perform tasks in the different environments. Another options is to use, for example, the "Line maps" to solve increasingly more difficult line follow tasks.
A somewhat different and exciting possibility is to export programs to a real robot like the Lego NXT. Learn the difference between navigating in RoboMind versus navigating in the real world. Learn about calibration while getting your robot to work. For this track you need to install the RoboMind desktop software which can be tried for free with a 30-days trial license. After that you need a Desktop Account to continue. For more information see the RoboMind Documentation pages .
The Common Core State Standards provide a understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that young people need for success in college and careers.
Below the Mathematical Practice grouping of these standards as mapped to the CSTA K-12 Computer Science - Level 2 standards and the RoboMind Academy Curriculum. For the complete mapping to the CSTA K-12 Computer Science - Level 2 standards see this document.
To help practitioners integrate skills into the teaching of core academic subjects, the Partnership has developed a uniﬁed, collective vision for learning known as the Framework for 21st Century Learning. This Framework describes the skills, knowledge and expertise students must master to succeed in work and life; it is a blend of content knowledge, speciﬁc skills, expertise and literacies. For more information see this document.
Below the so called "Partnership for 21st Century Essential Skills " are mapped to the CSTA K-12 Computer Science - Level 2 standards and the RoboMind Academy Curriculum. For the complete mapping to the CSTA K-12 Computer Science - Level 2 standards see this document.
The computing programmes of study as published by the UK Department of Education states that:
Below a mapping is given between the courses offered by the RoboMind Academy and the computing programmes of study for each relevant Key Stage.
Natuur, Leven en Technologie (NLT) is een vak voor de bovenbouw havo en vwo (Tweede Fase). NLT laat zien hoe een combinatie van verschillende disciplines nodig is om complexe vraagstukken uit de wereld van bèta en technologie op te lossen. Het vak is bedoeld als afronding van de natuurprofielen en als voorbereiding op de keuze voor een studie op het gebied van bèta/technologie. Meer over NLT is te vinden op de NLT website.
De volgende vaardigheden voor het vak NLT worden in meer of mindere mate getraind in de RoboMind Academy: