How one innovative school implemented a coding program during school remote learning!…!

EZ Robot

In April of this year, Australia much like the rest of the world, was feeling the full effects of the COVID 19 pandemic. They had entered lockdown 1.0 and Australian Schools pivoted to remote learning.

The Brainary and Wyndham Tech School saw a silver lining and developed a robot challenge for secondary school students aged 13–16 years old. The Wyndham Tech School is part of a unique group of specialist technology schools in Victoria. There are 10 Tech Schools across Victoria and each works with their region’s Secondary Schools to deliver world-class STEM Education.

The Robot Challenge was designed to keep students engaged in STEM and Robotics while in lockdown. The challenge was delivered over a 6 week period where students learned key programming skills that they could apply with their JD humanoid robot. They were then required to apply this knowledge in a programming challenge. Students were asked to create a customer service robot application where their robot would act as a concierge in a children’s hospital, providing directions for visitors and patients.

In order to run the program remotely, each student was sent a fully assembled JD robot and they attended online robot sessions each week where they would learn how to program their robots. Alongside these online sessions, the Brainary provided after school virtual drop-in sessions where students could ask questions and troubleshoot problems.

The sessions were structured as shown below:

Session 1. Introduction to JD and the Challenge
In this session students were introduced to JD and given an overview of the program they are participating in. They began learning about text to speech generation and robotic movement.

Video Tutorial

Session 2. Image Recognition
Students learnt how to use their robot’s camera to recognise faces and objects. We also worked through the concepts of image recognition and computer vision.

Video Tutorial

Session 3. Speech recognition
We worked through the basics of speech recognition and students began to program their own conversations into their robot.

Video Tutorial

Session 4. Review
This session reviewed the skills we had learnt in the previous sessions in preparation for the challenge.

Session 5. Challenge Briefing
Students were given their challenge brief and given time to start working on their solution to the challenge. Students were given a week to complete and submit their solutions.

At the end of the program, the robots were collected, sanitised, and distributed to a new class.

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