Teaching Robotic Programming Through Simulation
Our Hypothesis

We believe that students will learn many aspects of how to program robots quicker and better using a robotic simulation environment like the ROBOTC Robot Virtual World (RVW) than if they if they learn to program using a physical robot. The simulation environment removes potential problems associated with a robot’s electronics,mechanics, power, and placement allowing the student to focus on troubleshooting their code rather than their robot. Our study builds on numerous studies involving teaching novice programming using robots i. We are looking for the following types of teachers:

  1. Type One - A teacher that wants their kids to learn to program LEGO or VEX robots and would like to participate using the Robot Virtual World software.
  2. Type Two - A teacher that teaches two or more sections where we can have one group act as a control group (this group learns to program using real robots) and the other group learns to program using the RVW.
  3. Type Three - A teacher that teaches an introductory robotics classes each semester to different groups of students. (Robotics 1 is offered first semester and then Robotics 1 is offered again the second semester to a different group of kids) The teacher would pick one class to learn to program using the RVW simulation software and the next semester’s class would use ROBOTC and the actual physical robots.

We anticipate that the actual study will take between four to six weeks of class time. We are not advocating that students do not eventual program and engineer real robots, but we are trying to determine if there is a more efficient way to teach novice robotic programming skills. Once the study is complete all students will program real robots.


How Can You Become Involved?

We are interested in working with Certified Teachers that will teach 15 or more students how to program LEGO or VEX robots during the fall semester of 2012. A teacher can become certified by taking one of our face-to-face or online courses and by passing the certification test.


Will Individual Student Data Be Shared?

We are interested in working with Certified Teachers that will teach 15 or more students how to program LEGO or VEX robots during the spring semester 2013. A teacher can become certified by taking one of our face-to-face or online courses and by passing the certification test. If you are interested please email research at cs2n.org (the @ is removed to prevent SPAMbots).


What Benefit Will I Have If I Participate In The Study?

After you pass the certification test you will receive a certificate that says that you are certified by Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy to teach ROBOTC programming. During the study you will have:

  • Free access to Groups
  • Free access to ROBOTC Robot Virtual World Software
  • Technical support during your participation during the study
  • The satisfaction of knowing that you were part of a study designed to help students learn to program.
  • If your students complete the study you will receive an annual RVW classroom license.

What Are The Requirements to Participate In The Study?
  • Your students will need Internet access.
  • All students will need to sign up for CS2N account.
  • All students will take the pretest before they begin the study.
  • Teachers will be able to use the Groups functionality built into CS2N to track their students progress.
  • Students will use the CS2N Learn course and complete the quizzes as they work through the course.
  • At least 70% of you students will complete the RVW programming challenges as they work through the course.
  • At least 70% of your students will complete the post test.

i Systematic Literature Review: Teaching Novices Programming Using Robots L. Major, T. Kyriacou and O. P. Brereton, (2011). 15th Annual Conference on Evaluation & Assessment in Software Engineering, p 21-30.

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