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Faculty Report 2015
ECCS Factsheet

RoboTEC - Robotics for kids (Charles Max)

The RoboTEC project explores the ways in which 11 – 12 year old students build and program LEGO MINDSTORMS robots. During three weeks in June, the RoboTEC SUD workshop welcomes classes from Luxembourg fundamental school for a 4 to 6 hour exploration activity. The goal is to stimulate kids’ interest in technology, ICT, robots and basic programming by proposing playful, creative and inquiry-based learning tasks.

Working in pairs, the students strive to move their NXT robot across a circuit or to perform a specific task by composing the appropriate program on the NXT-G programming platform. This environment is a specific version of the professional programming environment LabView (http://www.ni.com/labview) from National Instruments. Kids download the program to the NXT bloc using a USB cable and then immediately check if their robot is able to perform the actions as conceived by the students. Frequent adaptations are necessary until the robot finally runs fully autonomously across the circuit. Instead of directing the robots via pre-programmed actions only, students also learn to use sensors so that the robots interact with the given environment to take input, to process data and to signal output to the motors, e.g. turning motors on and off.

The RoboTEC SUD workshop is organised with the help of student assistants. Researchers document the students’ inquiry processes, problem solving efforts and creative solutions through video data. The students assess their own learning through an online survey and individual video recordings.

The RoboTEC activities take place during the annual RoboTEC SUD workshop, which is organised by the regional agency proSUD in collaboration with the National Research Fund (FNR) and the Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust (SnT).