A. Instruciton - 7.8
B. Design - 8.5
C. Engagement - 6.6
Robots4STEM: A Website for Computer Programming
Summary : An Interactive Approach to Learning Foundational Computer Skills
Robots4STEM is a multi-level, online experience designed for users to learn an array of computer skills, from digital citizenship through the basics of computer programming. After registering with the website, users are assigned an avatar that will represent them as they complete the different missions, or tutorials, that can be accessed by clicking them on the left side of the screen.
The missions are designed to be completed in order, and users are to click the heading by the “Yellow Box” to enter the missions. The Robots4STEM will then guide users through the missions, and its different activities culminate in a final project. Each mission features a multimedia approach for providing instructions and activities. The instructions are typically provided by a robot, who relays them both orally and in writing. The activities often require users to link commands, in the form of puzzle pieces, together in order to navigate their robot to complete some sort of task.
As users complete the missions, they earn badges, gain competences, and are graded based on their performance. These indicators can be accessed using the liked-named links on the top of the left side column.
Instructional Ideas for Robots4STEM
- Teachers can reserve class time for students to progress through the Robots4STEM’s curriculum. At the end of the class time allotted for this activity, students can keep a log of the work they completed, what they learned, and what they plan to do next time they work on the curriculum. Before they begin the next session, teachers can have students review their log as a warmup and reminder of what they accomplished last time they worked on Robots4STEM before they log in.
- After completing a mission in this website, students write a critique of it. They can first explain what they were supposed to learn and then what they actually learned. Next, they can write a review of the mission, where they explain if they did or did not like the activities they completed and how they can use the information/skills they learned in an authentic, relevant way.
- After completing a mission on this website that focuses on a computer coding skill, such as conditionals and loops, teachers can have students view different websites and computer programs. As they do, students can specifically look for those features in the websites and programs and identify them. The teacher can then have students share their findings with their classmates.
- After students have completed all the missions in Robots4STEM, they can complete the final project. After all students have completed the final project, the teacher can have them share their final projects in small groups to get feedback from their classmates. The feedback can include the strengths of the final project and ideas for improvement. The teacher can then provide students with time to make any revisions before presenting their final project to another small group. The teacher can decide if this second sharing should also result in feedback and revisions or if it can complete the assignment.
- When students complete all the missions and final project in Robots4STEM, teachers can have students compare this website to other, similar coding programs, such as CodeCombat, Scratch, and CodeAcademy. Teachers can then have students explain which program they prefer and why when learning to code. Students can share their thoughts as part of a class debate activity.
Screenshots of Robots4STEM