Wednesday, March 12, 2008

My Takeaway - Robotics Workshop @ Admiralty Secondary

Arrived early... and was prepared to spend the day in the school. Yes, seldom that we have full-day workshop.

This is one of those Maths workshop that demands lots of preparation - equipment, testing - partly because it comes with experiments! Ah... Science experiments!!! There, the cling-cling-clank-clank stuff - torch lights, (different types of) mirrors and of course, the stars - Robotic cars!

It was rainy... The room (the Technology hub) was cosy... yes, we have to remove our shoes before we enter the room (which is about 2 classroom size) that is laid with carpet (for the first half) and wood (for the main activity room). The space! Yes, envy the amount of space that's specially devoted for the school's robotic programme. It's also like the showroom.

Like the table-chairs set - so compact and neat - and space saving; although it could not stand too much weight... but I thought it was good - to promote small group discussions! Think maintance is easy.


How it went...

  • Participants were attentive to the details of the activity - One pointed out inconsistency in Activitiy 1 - what's described was different from what's in the lesson plan. Hm... can't remember how this was resolved.
  • Participants were engaged with the activities - Say, in activity 1, hm... not too sure if they know "What to do" or they simply picked up whatever tools is there (eg. torchlight) and just explore (trial-and-error?). Did not see them refer back to the worksheet... but they were more engrossed to see how the robotic car moves.
  • The ability to link the concept to how the tool can be used to support learning is not clear. For instance, in the 2nd activity (Saving the Princess), as HP pointed out that, one team was quick to find the ratio (ie. the speed) so as to solve the problem... however, whether they were able to link what they are doing to SPEED, it was not clear.
  • The linking between IBL and use of Robotics in learning was weak. Just wondering - 2 'new' things were introduced to participants (which turn out that almost all had no background knowledge of robotics and IBL)... too much to grapple with. A suggestion would be: Introduce to participants how robotics can be tapped on for learning of concepts - then place emphasis on the investigative aspect. Eventually, to introduce "IBL" (perhaps for awareness?). It was no doubt we wanted to anchor the workshop with some kind of pedagogy, but being too ambitious does not generate the desired (or expected) outcomes! Then it turned out that we under deliver...
  • "Basic logistics" could be improved - eg. projected image from LCD projector was blur and too bright. Something could be done... The instability of the projection - this problem could be surfaced and addressed during the preparatory stage - it can be avoided.
  • I think... we have to re-assessed our choice of location - ought to be somewhere that is more accessible.

Some videoclips of participants and trainers... in action :D

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