Teaching and Learning Resources from Diane Hawkins


Kent NGfL Robolab Project
2000 - 2001

 

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Conclusion

The children enjoyed making the models, even though this was a time-consuming activity. Generally speaking, the instructions were okay to follow, but you must double check whether the models have been built correctly. It is especially difficult to check the tiny parts (connectors and/or bushes), as the children often pick a very similar, but not the exact, piece required. This will result in the model being faulty and not as robust as it could be. It is also extremely difficult to pinpoint any problems as, visually, the model looks exactly the same as the drawing in the instructions.

The ideal classroom setup for this particular kit was:
Item
Cost
1 Robolab Starter Set

£236.00

4 x RCX programmable bricks

£310.40

4 x IR transmitters and cables

£64.20

1 Robolab Concept Guide

£11.40

1 Robolab Teacher's Guide

£19.50

1 Robolab Starter Set Activity Guide

£19.15

1 Robolab Software CD ROM

£19.15

Total

£679.80

This is extremely expensive and would eat up most school's ICT budget for the year! I bought the items separately and didn't bother with the teacher's materials. To buy all of the above with a site licence for the software is £753.45 from the Commotion 2000 Catalogue.

Version 2 of the software includes a third level of programming called Investigator, which I have yet to examine. This level includes the use of datalogging. Ideas for the use of Investigator Level work can be found on the Robolab website and will eventually be reviewed on our website.

For schools wishing to dip their toes into control technology with one group at a time, the Amusement Pack Set is ideal and a far cheaper option at £219.99. Further Amusement Park Sets cost £76.60 each, RCX bricks £77.60 each and IR towers/cables cost £16.05 each (Commotion 2000 Catalogue)

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