Friday, December 2, 2016

Happy Hour of Code Week


Don't forget that next week is the Hour of Code, a global initiative to entice people of all ages to learn one hour of coding through games.  You don't need to do anything more than download some promotional materials and lead patrons to the website for them to sign in.  To extend the hour of code beyond the website, we'll be putting out some of our robots to try.

This year's newest addition to our circulating collection is the adorable Dash robot. Who is by far my favorite robot that I have played with because Dash actually has a personality! I immediately wanted to hug him and yell "Johnny 5 Alive!" Dash talks, blinks, lights up and runs around on 3 wheels. He has a companion robot, Dot, many fun accessories, and even Lego brick adapters.

The apps that I downloaded for him on our iPad gen. 2 (gen 1 won't work) are:

Blockly
Path
Blockly Jr.
Wonder

Wonder is the hardest and least intuitive app, aimed for experienced robotics users or at least middle school students with Path being the easiest.  I posted a video of Dash at the race track using Path on Instagram. Blockly took a few minutes to get going but if you have any experience with Scratch programs it will be immediately understood.  All of these are free downloads.

My other new robot this year is for the preschool set called Bee Bot. He doesn't require an iPad and is simply there to teach basic order of operations using 7 buttons on his back: LEFT, RIGHT, FORWARD, BACKWARD, STOP, PAUSE & GO. Here is a great classroom example of its use.  You could build it a little obstacle course and challenge kids to safely make Bee Bot go through the path.

I was practicing with Dash today at the desk and a little boy about 2 came up to it completely in awe. He WOULD NOT talk to me but he readily said, "Goodbye Dash!" on his way out. His grandmother had said this is probably his first experience seeing a robot and isn't that what the " Library of the Future" is all about?

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