The Department of Computer Science hosts an annual Adopt-A-Bot competition. Our scheme has been developed with colleagues from Brunel’s Department of Computer Science and School of Education and has been run annually for the last five years.
Adopt-A-Bot teaches school pupils the fundamentals of programming, design and documentation, and does so with the help of a Finch robot, that can be programmed and adapted to a large array of scenarios and contexts. A number of prizes are available for the teams participating in the competition.
Our scheme involves:
- Teams of pupils from London and international schools
- Mixed ability class to be putting finches through their paces within minutes of set-up
- Team-based challenges of four or five pupils in each team
- Helps teenagers with great computer knowledge but also less developed social skills like integrating with their classmates
- Adoptabot is carefully constructed so that all team members learn the basics of programming.
- For pupils it offers a fun way to rapidly grasp what coding is about by controlling their own finch robot. Then Adoptabot allows them to develop their programming skills through team-working as they put a finch into a scenario of their own.
- For teachers it offers a scalable, flexible, multi-year, platform that is easy to transport and suitable for mixed ability cohorts. Adoptabot does not tie you to using a particular language and as all programmes are held on PC, laptop or Mac, robots can be passed from class to class without time-consuming cache wiping.
- For schools, the Adoptobots are cheap, tough and can be used by successive classes without needing to be tied down to ICT suites. And with all power provided via USB there is no need for batteries.
During our workshops pupils will learn how to:
- Develop their own scenario where as many of the finch’s capabilities are programmed in as possible – the only limit a team’s imagination
- Be equally challenged, enthused and engaged
- Use finch's our undergraduates use in their final-year projects
- Pupils in year's seven and eight will see almost immediate results with no prior coding knowledge of programming
- Within minutes of plugging your finch into a tablet, laptop or PC they’ll be able to tell it what to do
- As they dig deeper into Adoptabot they’ll be asked as part of a team to come up with an imaginary situation where they make use of as many of the finch’s abilities as possible.
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