Parallax Insider News

New Distance Learning Course for cyber:bot

  • By: Ken Gracey Published: 13 April, 2020 0 comments

Application now closed!     Zoom registration (May 4, 6, 8, 8am PDT)

Dear Community,

While schools across the United States are closed for self-quarantine and travel-based conventions have been cancelled, we’re inviting educators to participate in another valuable hands-on distance learning opportunity!  

Parallax is accepting technology educators who want to learn Python programming, electronics, cybersecurity and problem solving with our cyber:bot. Educators apply this week, and if accepted, take receipt of the cyber:bot before the distance learning workshops. This will be our second series of workshops and we’re accepting 60 educators this time (bringing our total teachers trained to 200 since the COVID-19 pandemic started).

We accept educators based on their qualifications and match for the program, not the order in which applications are received.

Read our FAQs below before you sign up.

What are the key dates?

  • April 13-16th: Applications accepted. The link above will take you to a Google form.
  • April 17th: Parallax notifies educators of their acceptance.
  • April 20-24th: Parallax sends out cyber:bot kits to accepted educators.
  • May 4th, 6th and 8th at 8 am Pacific Time are the distance learning sessions (1-1-½ hours each) over Zoom. Register for the Zoom sessions above.

What is the cyber:bot?

The cyber:bot robot adds a tangible hardware dimension to Python-focused computer science, CTE, MakerSpace and engineering technology programs where experiential learning is important. The cyber:bot robot uses a BBC Micro:bit module on the Parallax small robot form factor that's a proven STEM success in classrooms from middle school into college. The on-board radio is particularly useful for cybersecurity education, too.

The cyber:bot robot is a joint effort of Parallax Inc. and NICERC, the National Integrated Cyber Education Research Center (www.nicerc.org). Take a look at the cyber:bot product line and the tutorial series for more information. Instructor-only support like assessments, scope and sequence and teaching guides are available by login (to be provided at the first workshop).

What experience will I gain from this program?

You’ll develop experience with electronic circuit building, writing Python code and finding syntax errors, navigating the robot with several types of sensors, and troubleshooting the entire robotic system. You will learn how to overcome any technical hurdle that may catch your student while gaining enough knowledge to confidently guide students through the tutorials. You will also learn how to deploy these robots effectively in a classroom environment. Most importantly, you’ll be running the classroom your students will remember — a result of topic relevance, experiential-based learning, and interest.  

What does this training cost?

It’s free for the 60 educators we accept by April 16th. Each of them will receive a cyber:bot for the course, for no charge. If you do not get accepted for the free cyber:bot but would still like to participate, register for the Zoom meetings and consider buying a cyber:bot (they’re 20% off this week!). Parallax would send out hundreds of cyber:bots to every teacher who applied if we could afford to.  

Am I qualified to apply?

We have a few basic requirements. You should:

  • Be a technical educator in the U.S. to qualify for the free cyber:bot (international applicants are also welcome; we just can’t afford to ship you a cyber:bot for free due to shipping cost, customs, etc).
  • Teach one of the following subjects in middle school through college: computer science, robotics, coding, PLTW robotics, intro to computers, engineering technology, STEM/STEAM, electronics, mechatronics, Python, cybersecurity, or similar.
  • Have a desire to move beyond “STEM learning toys” and over-priced competition kits where only a few students get the coding experience, towards an evenly-distributed system where competitions can be done in class.
  • Be in the position of exploring and specifying hardware for the Fall semester.
  • Agree to attend and actively participate in the three Zoom meetings (May 4th, 6th, and 8th at 8 am Pacific (9/10/11 in Mountain/Central/Eastern).  
  • Not have already received a free robot from Parallax.

How is the distance learning done over Zoom?

Quite effectively! You’ll have the cyber:bot in your hands and will be using it like a student. We’ll run an actual classroom, and walk you through the steps of setting up the Python programming tool, the cyber:bot and then start coding—we’ll answer questions and help you solve problems along the way. You’ll configure your Chrome browser window right next to Zoom, so you can type code and follow along with the circuit building. We use the Zoom Meeting format (not Webinar) so you can have your audio and camera enabled. Meetings will be recorded and posted to YouTube for your reference.  

Can international educators apply?

Yes, of course! Fill out the application form so we know about you, but we won’t be able to send the free cyber:bot. Simply sign up for the Zoom meetings and join us. Order yourself a robot if you want to participate with the rest of the educators.

While the COVID-19 situation is very serious, this time away from the classroom gives us an important opportunity to develop new skills and come back stronger!  

Sincerely,

Ken Gracey, CEO
Educator Hotline (916) 701-8625
kgracey@parallax.com

P.S. The robot is yours to keep as long as you demonstrate it to the students.