Implementing Robotic Exercises for Students

Solving robotic exercises is a difficult task for students because the modeling activity involved requires students to comprehend programming, robotic design concepts as well as basic engineering skills. To help students train themselves, we are proposing a mixed reality based instructional system that addresses these learning challenges and teaches them a general problem solving method. In this article it presents the benefits of using such a system in a learning process, in relation to standard teaching (as in the classroom).

With the inception of LEGO Mindstorms, robotics is being embraced by children, adults and educators. Educators are infusing LEGO Mindstorms in various curriculums such as: computer science, information systems, engineering, robotics, and psychology. The LEGO environment provides students with the opportunity to test the results of abstract design concepts through concrete hands-on robotic manipulation. In this LEGO learning environment, students often discover they need to acquire new skill sets and the cycle of revising their knowledge base before they can achieve a new function becomes apparent.

Understanding and implementing robotic exercises are difficult tasks for students. The LEGO Mindstorm environment is an excellent vehicle in which students can train themselves. This self training approach is a “constructive method”. This methodology enables students to become conscious of the underlying mechanics and programming constructs required to successfully produce a seamless execution. Utilizing this learning environment to teach robotics has forced us to define and to name robotic, mechanical and programming concepts in domains which are generally not directly taught in the classroom.

The focus of the next LEGO Robotic article is to discuss the myriad of benefits that student can draw from when immersed in a virtual instructor learning environment. The subsequent section will show why robotics is a difficult domain. The next section will present the virtual simulation and instruction portion of the course.

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