We are big believers in encouraging the next young, upcoming computer generation. That often puts us in unique situations- like this one:
We were asked by the Hawke’s Bay branch of the Royal Society of New Zealand to support their two-day Science and Technology Camp for Year 7 and 8 students. As we already teach students in these years we were happy to extend this to other schools with a workshop on robots. In cooperation with the Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT) we let these students work with Vex robots and the programming environment Modkit. Every time we ran the workshop, the students were busy bees in the classroom, building and programming robots. The students worked in teams and it was amazing to see how they challenged themselves to let the robot do more and more complicated tasks.
Modkit is an IDE for programming robots using drag-and-drop functionality. This is similar to IDEs like Scratch, Snap, Alice, Blockly, etc. With one click the constructed program can be downloaded to the Vex robot. You should have seen the fun when the students saw their robots’ behaviour when they tested their program. And we loved to see how quickly and naturally the students picked up programming in this type of IDE.