Welcome to the Machine – 5 May 2017

Day Planner

  • Welcome back – Term 2
  • Introduction to programming:

Machine code – What language processors understand

Compiler / Assembler (Robot C)  – Converting English to Hex

  • Introduce students to http://www.education.rec.ri.cmu.edu/products/cortex_video_trainer/index.html
    • Task students to write and upload code to make the Clawbot move forward for a set time, turn 180 and return.  Code should have correct syntax and notated. Students to make record of this (screenshot/video). Use EIT online weeks 5-8.
    • Sensors – Students to include a push button sensor and write code that causes the Clawbot to move backwards and perform a 180 when the button contacts the wall.
  • Blender – Students to include their name or a design on their mug and export the file as an .stl ready for print.
  • 3D printing / slicing – Introduction to 3D printing.
  • Students to write up their blog.


Swept Away – 10th March 2017

  • Setting up and doing program work on Thursday till 7:15pm.
  • Found that the Wall-wart DC plugs are bottoming out and aren’t fully going into the receptacle.
  • Students finished off Clawbot assembly. Team engineer inspected and the final inspection done by me. Teams had to correct mistakes before adding the electronics.
  • Teams researched how to link the TX controller with the RX on-board the Cortex and established a link.
  • Each team member experimented controlling the Clawbot on the floor outside of the arena.
  • 1st team finished then researched and assembled the arena. Found 1 green ball missing.
  • Each student of the team tried out the Clawbot in the arena abiding by the Swept Away rules.
  • Students were tasked with making notes of the rules and evaluating the Clawbot and its performance and design.
  • Students reminded of the need to submit their overdue robotics assignment by next Friday.
  • Was suggested that some background music maybe needed which could be a good idea. Students already come with their buds or h/phones, however I will ask the class and see what they think.

New Tech Room – 3rd March 2017

  • A late Thursday night (9:15pm) moving the mass of equipment into the new Tech room.
  • IT finished of imaging the computers just before the students arrived which was awesome.
  • The Clawbot kits were out on the benches ready for the students in their allocated teams to start the build.
  • Students did very well collaborating with each other when they weren’t sure on something and only occasionally referred to the master (tutor’s) bot.
  • Noticed on occasions that 1 team member was waiting on a task so reminded the team leader that they had a member of their team with no task. The team leaders responded appropriately and ensured that all members were allocated a task. This was awesome to see as I wasn’t sure if this would take place.
  • A short time was allocated for blogging.
  • Teams left having nearly finished their build and after they had left, I was able to scrutinise the build and make notes on what they had overlooked.

Students seemed very happy with the new room and the space that’s been provided. They all seemed very engaged and that was noted by other staff and their school representatives. They are very much looking forward to finishing them off next week and setting up the arena to compete in.

Te Matatini – 24th February 2017

  • Small numbers (5) due to Te Matatini participation so didn’t run with the planned programme for the day as it would have been unfair. I started off the day by taking the students to the library and having their photos taken and ID cards printed.
  • Students then proceeded to access their WordPress blog sites and started to familiarise themselves with their dashboard and tools. Some students changed their background and started their blog, while others experimented with some html and styling.
  • The students were reminded about finishing and uploading their robotics assignment as they were now overdue.
  • In the afternoon, I took the students to the computer technicians room and we examined the computers that were donated for student use by TDH.  We then removed the ram out of one machine and installed it into the spare slots of the other and we managed (with a little modification) to install a second hard drive using parts from the donor pc.  The students then installed a copy of Ubuntu onto the master drive. The students were able to take these home which they seemed very happy about.


The students really seemed to enjoy the combination of hands on (kinaesthetic) and software relating to the computer that they built up. This leads me to believe that they will really enjoy the rest of the programme with the robotics challenge and 3D printing, which both entail a hands on approach with programming and design included.

Robotics – 17th February 2017

Presentation on the field of Robotics.

  • Fleshed out from students what they knew about robotics & industrial usage. Wrote up prior knowledge on whiteboard.
  • Used a contextulised Vex PowerPoint as a presentation. Great discussion ensued with some excellent points brought up about the security of data when robots are used in a possible life threatening situation.
  • Played videos of different robots – Moodle & YouTube
  • Tasked students to research a robot of their choice and present it electronically by the next session. Content to include: Reason, Costs-both designing and end user, Features, Market/Audience, Performance and Ethics.
  • Some students were given their numeracy & literacy assessments to do, while the other students carried on with their research project.
  • Grouped students into their teams. Students came up with team names and allocated job roles and the reason why.

Students worked well, minimal disruptions, all were focused on the task at hand. Will be exciting to see now that they are in teams how they combine their skills for the benefit of the tasks.

Welcome Day – 10th February 2017

A Whakatau was held first off.

Set-up several displays with two being interactive.

  • Eeprom programmer & a digital speedometer. Students had to read the hex off the eeprom, work out the value, modify the table and re-write to the chip to see what difference it made.
  • Arduino Uno with a breadboard attached. Total of nine led’s hooked up. Students could choose three programs to run or modify values in Sketch to witness the outcome.
  • Hexcopter & quadcopter with associated radio gear. Students could also look at a flight controller, brushless gimbal and the radio gear.

Was nice to meet the students, they all seemed really switched on and eager to get started. I’m very much looking forward to working alongside them.

A good start to the first computing & robotics course held at EIT Tairawhiti.