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Experiences teaching CS1 with Personal Robots The Institute for Personal Robots in Education Jay Summet, Georgia Institute of Technology with Tucker Balch,

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Presentation on theme: "Experiences teaching CS1 with Personal Robots The Institute for Personal Robots in Education Jay Summet, Georgia Institute of Technology with Tucker Balch,"— Presentation transcript:

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2 Experiences teaching CS1 with Personal Robots The Institute for Personal Robots in Education Jay Summet, Georgia Institute of Technology with Tucker Balch, Doug Blank, Mark Guzdial, Deepak Kumar, Stewart Tansley, Jared Jackson, Natasha Eilbert, Keith O'Hara, Daniel Walker, Gaurav Gupta, and Monica Sweat

3 Help! My robot's gone crazy! The Institute for Personal Robots in Education Jay Summet, Georgia Institute of Technology with Tucker Balch, Doug Blank, Mark Guzdial, Deepak Kumar, Stewart Tansley, Jared Jackson, Natasha Eilbert, Keith O'Hara, Daniel Walker, Gaurav Gupta, and Monica Sweat

4 Why make CS education more fun and effective?

5 IPRE Overview Mission: Make Computer Science education more fun and effective, using Personal Robots Focused on CS1 education at the undergraduate level But we also want to promote pushing down to K-12 and extending to more advanced CS / ECE classes!

6 IPRE: Lead Institutions Georgia Institute of Technology –Tier 1 research university, founded in 1885 –15,000 students –2/3 of the undergraduate students are male Bryn Mawr College –Liberal arts college, founded in 1885 –1,200 students –Mostly female students

7 IPRE Principle Investigators Tucker Balch, Director, GaTech Douglas Blank, co-Director, BMC Mark Guzdial, GaTech Deepak Kumar, BMC Stewart Tansley, MSR

8 Not your typical robots! How are robots seen in popular culture?

9 6 P's of IPRE Personal – Every student owns a robot Price – Substitute for a textbook Pedagogy – Robot designed by the curriculum Peripheral – Robot is treated as a device Performances – Creativity & expression Programming Languages – High level, interpreted, break the compile/debug cycle

10 Personal Robot Small enough to carry in a backpack Wireless, controlled from computer Interactive and easy to program Personalizable More than “just a robot”

11 Current Prototype: Scribbler with IPRE Fluke $149 RobotEducation.org

12 Current Prototype: Scribbler with IPRE Fluke Bluetooth wireless control Movement Sound (beeps)‏ Light Sensors Obstacle Sensors Camera!

13 How to afford a robot for every student? Transfer costs to the students –$150 is close to the cost of a science textbook (in the US)‏ Amortize the cost over time –$150 robot is a $50 robot if you use it for three classes –30 robots cost $4,500

14 How Reliable? But what if a robot breaks? How frequently to robots break? Parallax offers a 90 day guarantee on the Scribbler, but a 16 week semester is 112 days!

15 How Reliable? More reliable than student's laptops! Laptop problems (software as well as hardware) were more prevalent than robot problems Having a few hot-spares to lend/rent is still a good idea (Project groups!)‏ Failure rate around 1-2%, comparable to most consumer electronics

16 Language: Python Looks like English Indentation matters Interpreted / Interactive Easy to learn, but powerful Job examples: –Google –Amazon –Industrial Light & Magic

17 Software: Goals Easy to learn, but doesn't seem simplistic as the student grows in experience: “pedagogically scalable” Easy to use: no compile-download-run Instant gratification: interactive, dynamic Open source: available for study or change Cross-platform: runs on Linux, Mac, Win32

18 Myro/Robot Demo! Turn on Bluetooth Turn on Robot

19 Programming as a social activity

20 Towards an Accessible, Engaging Environment for new, diverse students Competitions? Collaborations! Race? Orchestra! Compute factorial? Dance! Battlebots? A robot performance! Write a program of your own design!

21 The First Assignment Make your robot dance! –Musical accompaniment Function calls Encapsulation Looping

22 A CS1 Assignment: Maze Data from sensors IF statements Recursion Saving state

23 Using the Camera 3 person teams Week 1: Generate Special Effects (FX)! Week 2: Shoot a movie –Robot camera –Robot actors –Using your special FX

24 Image Special FX Teaches looping through data Nested FOR loops Data Representation –0-255 – One byte per color –24 bit color – 3 bytes per pixel

25 Movies Lists of individual frames Editing scenes together Playing scenes backwards Rendering at 1/2 or 2x speed Overlay text and graphics?

26 Robot Performances 3 person teams “Live” performance Synchronization of robots Graded on technical correctness, but also entertainment value, costumes and story

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33 Student Movies

34 Summary Student owned personal robots provide a concrete context for learning computer science Can be done relatively inexpensively Creative, non-confrontational group assignments stress the social and creative nature of computer science

35 What was the most important or interesting thing that you learned in this course? “That computer science can be creative!”

36 You can do this! Software and textbooks are free – use AS-IS or modify to fit your needs Print materials yourself or buy online from print on demand publishers

37 You can do this! Educator materials available: –Lecture Notes –Power-point presentations –Assignments & Labs

38 Hardware? We sell the robots and FLUKE upgrade modules from a non-profit company Looking to encourage 3rd party manufactures Contact us if you want the schematics / designs

39 Questions? For more information please visit: Play with the Robots: Demo Booth 7

40 IPRE Research Goals Hardware – Robust, inexpensive robot Software – Easy for students to learn Curricular Materials – Focus on learning CS Assessment – Make sure it works Adoptable – Easy for instructors to adopt!

41 © 2008 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. Microsoft, Windows, Windows Vista and other product names are or may be registered trademarks and/or trademarks in the U.S. and/or other countries. The information herein is for informational purposes only and represents the current view of Microsoft Corporation as of the date of this presentation. Because Microsoft must respond to changing market conditions, it should not be interpreted to be a commitment on the part of Microsoft, and Microsoft cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information provided after the date of this presentation. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS, IMPLIED OR STATUTORY, AS TO THE INFORMATION IN THIS PRESENTATION.


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