Healdsburg Tech-Play Camp – Week Two Notes

General Observations

  • The Mindstorms EV3 is still a handful to work with. The programing software requires a newer MAC and a fast internet connection – which we didn’t have. Communication with the brick , which is the brains of the robots, is sketchy.  The newer software is a definite improvement over EV2.
  • While Scratch is a great programing language it was a bit steep for about half of the campers.  It also tends to get the campers glued to their screens which is exactly what we didn’t want.
  • The QR Code project is a one shot deal. It worked great as a treasure hunt design and build but is not engaging enough for a second run.  That means that our idea of a Ghosts of the Plaza Tour may fizzle out.  One added element that could help with engagement is using one of the programs like Visualead to design neat looking codes.  The deal with that is that the free version only allows a few codes so its not a really good sand box for design experimentation.
  • Romo continues to be a fun little gadget but it doesn’t really lead into serious programing.  It only has a limited on screen menu and no computer based language. A more serious limitation is that the commands are broken into two, mutually exclusive, modes Menu and Lab. This results in such limitations as that if you have Romo moving in the “line follow” menu mode you can’t also have Lab behaviors such as telepresence.
  • The Romo Team decided that they wanted to make a robot costume.  Their idea has aluminum foil covered boxes. I pick up a 4×4 sheet of aluminum covered insulation blanket which allowed for a much more exciting and flexible costume. It may turn out to be a real oven when worn for more than 1o minutes so we’ll have to test this.  It also consumed 3 days by three campers so that needs to be considered.

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