We’ve received many calls and messages over the past month from educators who are using Parallax hardware to support their distance learning programs. This week, you’ll receive more e-mail than normal from us as we try to support you in any teaching efforts involving Parallax. We want to make sure you’re up to date on everything from our tutorials and software to hardware discounts.
Today’s message pertains to using the Scribbler 3 robot (S3) in education.
This Wednesday, we invite you to attend our Zoom meetup “A Practical Guide to Implementing a Robotics Unit with the S3” from John Kauffman, an educator who’s been teaching with it for many years. John has prepared his tips and resources to guide an educator. We’ll distribute his files at the Zoom meetup.
The S3 robot is also marked down by $70 (to $149) to facilitate a wider use in education this Fall. We’ve released BlocklyProp Solo, which requires NO login or password and runs in a Chrome browser on Chromebooks, Mac and Windows operating systems.
And finally, we’ve made a short video to show you how to sanitize Parallax robots and electronics between users, for educators who are sending hardware home with their students.
Details and links for these announcements are below.
Ken Gracey, Parallax Inc.
Educator Hotline (916-701-8625)
Educators: sign up for our one-hour Zoom meeting on Wednesday!
On Wednesday John Kauffman shares his experiences teaching with the S3 robot. As he puts it “many teachers have S3 robots and some experience with them, but now need a little help to actually implement a unit in their classroom.” We’ll bridge that gap with an experienced teacher discussing the practical details of using the S3 in class. John Kauffman will share his tricks and traps from 5 years’ experience. He will discuss timing, topic order, materials, co-topics, pre-class prep, extension activities, and other solutions that have been useful to teachers in his train-the-trainer PD seminars. For most of these topics there are different approaches with advantages and disadvantages; John will discuss and then suggest paths that will fit your personal teaching plans. His suggestions on troubleshooting and mitigating problems have given scores of teachers the confidence to begin their units using the S3. Parallax will be sharing his zip file of tip sheets, pre-class checklists, common mistakes and other documents with all attendees.
John Kauffman has taught robotics and other micro-controller topics since 2005. He leads educator PD courses at the Northern VA Community College and teaches robotics part-time in the Arlington, VA Public Schools. His current interests include developing techniques to teach robotics online.
Scribbler 3 Robot On Sale at $149 ($70 off $219 price!)
The Scribbler 3 is a durable, fully-assembled robot for elementary and middle school students. One of our middle school teachers has used them almost daily for seven years! Students will quickly tell you that the Sharpie pen port in the middle is their favorite feature, but there’s so much more and it’s all easily accessible in BlocklyProp. These features include high-resolution encoders for distance-based travel, infrared emitters and receivers for object detection and line following, phototransistors for light following or avoidance, a powerful speaker, LEDs, a stall sensor on the rear wheel, and an expansion port for servos, Ping))) Distance Sensor or other uses.
The educational resources are complete with classroom-ready tutorials for 30 hours of coding activities. Educators may request an account to access the assessment material, which includes teaching guides, scope and sequence documents, standards alignment matrix, and FAQs.
We’ve got 600 S3s in stock and they’ll be on sale through early Fall!
New BlocklyProp Launcher Speeds Downloads and Requires No Login
We’ve just released BlocklyProp Launcher V1.01! BlocklyProp Launcher starts BlocklyProp Solo, which runs locally from your Windows, Mac or Chromebook operating system as a Chrome application. The key improvement with this release is that downloads to any Propeller 1 Multicore product (ActivityBot 360,FLiP Microcontroller Module, S3 Robot) are now very reliable – whether using USB cable or wireless with the WX Module. COM ports are remembered and the user won’t need to select it over and over after disconnect/reconnect — a real benefit if you use multiple Parallax devices. You’ll also notice that BlocklyProp Launcher has no link to the cloud-based version of BlocklyProp, which has been retired. Educators will need to install the new BlocklyProp Launcher for fall 2020 classes. COPPA does not apply since there are no student logins or passwords required!
Disinfecting Parallax Electronics Between Uses
In this short video we’ll show you how to sanitize robots and electronics between students. If you’re doing any kind of distance learning program where hardware is coming and going from your school then you will find this video helpful.
Wireless Programming of the S3 Robot Using the WX Module
Above, we pointed out that the Scribbler 3 Robot is for elementary and middle school students, but not exclusively! Customer Whit Stodghill (author of Robotics Under the Stole – The Notes of a Priest and Roboticist) has almost every product we’ve made, including a Scribbler 1, 2 and 3! Mr. Stodghill created a Tiny Tutorial to show how the S3 Robot can be programmed wirelessly from BlocklyProp with our WX Module. We’ve posted that video on our YouTube Tiny Tutorial Playlist.