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National Development Plan
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Trinity College, Dublin
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This course adopts a constructivist, problem based, learning approach to the teaching of the basic concpets in programming, logic and robotics. (Or to put it another way groups of people collaborating togteher to solve a problem which has a real world aspect to it offers a very good environment for learning). At the heart of the learning approach adopted is a modified version of Kolb's experiential learning cycle which encourages the learner to go through a cycle of formulating a design, implementing that design, getting that design executed in the physical world (on a robot) and then reflecting upon the execution of that implementation. Extensive use is made of clips of Digital Video to illustrate both the problem solving process and sample solutions. The clips are annotated both with text and graphical indicators of transitions within the Kolb cycle. The web site contains a set of progressively more sophisticated problems, working through which should lead the learner to a good understanding of programming, logic and robotics.

The robotics technology used is the Lego MindstormsProgrammable Brick which was designed at the Epistemology and Learning Group at the MIT Media Lab. The brick can control a number of motors and sensors can be attached which respond to touch and light. Mindstroms allows non trival devices to be built which can INTEREACT with their environment. This provides an ideal technological base to be used in the learning approach followed by this course.

The Robotics Development Cycle