Shield-Bot for Arduino: Classroom Resources for the Educator!

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Dear Educators, 

You’ve been busy getting started this year! In the last couple of days we’ve set up Codebender.edu software on Chromebooks for Arduino programming, built your customized micro:bit module kits, moved you to the new BlocklyProp Solo, toured your classrooms, and shipped you a bunch of kits. Some CTE educators have inherited labs of Parallax hardware and need help identifying what they have (and what they don’t). We’re pleased to assist you with all of these questions and more.

As you know, we have several product families with unique programming environments. This week we’ll feature the key resources related to our Shield-Bot for Arduino:

– Shield-Bot Robot Kit à la carte or in the glorious 12-Pack Plus
– Codebender.edu for Chromebooks, which is free for our customers!
– Using Learn.parallax.com tutorials vs the spiral-bound, printed book
– Extra projects: Kitty Cat Bot, Line Followers, Infrared Remote Control and Ping))) Ultrasonic
– Accessing the educator-only assessment materials
– Disinfecting robots between students

Need help? E-mail education@parallax.com or call the Educator Hotline (916-701-8625). If there’s no answer please leave a message and we’ll get right back to you. We want to help you succeed in these challenging times so you can “Be the classroom they remember!” (even if there is no classroom)!

Sincerely, 

Ken Gracey
Parallax Inc.

Made in USA parallax

Robot Shield with Arduino Kit (#32335)

Robot Shield with Arduino Kit

This is the basic Robot-Shield for Arduino (an Uno is underneath the Board of Education Shield), assembled with the infrared object avoidance circuit, to detect or avoid objects per code. The kit includes sensors for light following, object detection with whiskers, and infrared. A set of LEDs, speaker, resistors, and capacitors are used throughout the tutorials. If you’re not sure where to start, this is a good place.

Codebender.edu Programs Shield-Bots on ChromeBooks And it's Free for Parallax Classrooms!

Codebender.edu Programs Shield-Bots on ChromeBooks

If you’re running a class of Shield-Bots on Chromebooks you’re going to need Codebender.edu to program them (unless you want to pay for Arduino Create). Thanks to an arrangement between Parallax, Cyber.org and Codebender, we’re able to distribute Codebender.edu for free to our 1-1 Chromebook customers who have a classroom of robots. The Codebender.edu App is routinely accepted (i.e., unblocked) by district IT staff and it is not subject to COPPA requirements because no login is required. 

The process for an educator configuring a Chromebook with Codebender works like this:

– Contact Parallax for your classroom Codebender license key
– Enter your license key at https://edu.codebender.cc/school-offer for your class URL
– Your class URL is good all year for unlimited downloads
– Install the Codebender App on student Chromebooks
– Start programming your Arduino online! 

If you’re a teacher with a Windows machine but you also want to use Codebender.edu for purposes of using the same system and screen sharing, there’s one more step to make it run on Windows. You’ll also need to install this Windows plugin.

And most importantly — as if the mix of operating systems and microcontrollers isn’t already enough — classrooms of Windows or Mac operating systems should stick with the official Arduino IDE. We have a limited number of “free” Codebender.edu licenses to give out and are trying to allocate them to Chromebook-only classes.  

Codebender.edu Programs Shield-Bots on ChromeBooks And it's Free for Parallax Classrooms!

Learn.parallax.com On-Line Tutorials for Shield-Bot

The tutorials for the Shield-Bot for Arduino are located on Learn.parallax.com. If you haven’t seen them before, take a look! The reason we’ve sold more Arduino-based robots than any other company is that we’ve carefully developed hands-on, sequential tutorials focused on circuit building, coding, and challenges. Common to all Parallax tutorials are the circuit pictorials and schematics, side-by-side. Students begin with the pictorials become proficient at schematics, breadboarding and component identification quite quickly. They learn to develop and test the code as subsystems with a program-and-test process. This is how they learn to “debug” physical computing systems and build their own projects. The entire sequence of Shield-Bot tutorials requires about 40 hours of lab time.

Shield-Bot for Arduino Kit Includes Spiral-Bound Printed Tutorial

Shield-Bot for Arduino Kit Includes Spiral-Bound Printed Tutorial

Students who only use the on-line tutorials and task switch with their code editor experience a loss of attention and shortness of focus. For this reason, we encourage the use of our spiral-bound, lay-flat 274-page printed tutorial. It’s the same content as the on-line tutorials, but in more depth. The printed tutorial may be placed next to the student’s keyboard and support side-by-side use with the code editor and robot assembly. The printed tutorial is included with the Shield-Bot for Arduino shown above kit and the Shield-Bot 12-Pack Plus for Classrooms.  

Today, I encouraged a Southern California educator to buy this book for each student to accompany their Shield-Bot for Arduino kits. He told me the school has a complete spiral-bound print operation in the class “next door”. If you want to run copies at your school, please do! Follow the link below and scroll down to “Downloads and Documentation” to find the PDF. 

Project Tutorials like Kitty Cat Bot Support Scaffolding and Student-Driven Ideas

Project Tutorials Kitty Cat Bot Support

Today, an educator called to ask about add-ons for the Shield-Bot (often the same accessories are compatible with all Parallax robots). He was interested in how to support certain students who have grown beyond his own skill level and needed projects and challenges of their own. For those students, we have project-based tutorials and additional hardware kits. Click on the above video to see the “Kitty Cat Bot” in action. 

Some of the project-based tutorials for Shield-Bot include Roaming with the Ping))), Infrared Remote Control, and Adding a Pixy2 CMU Camera for color object detection. The products required for these tutorials are shown in the parts listing section of each tutorial. 

12-Pack Plus Kit Provides a Year of Hands-On Learning (#32339)

12-Pack Plus Kit highlights

This kit includes 12 Shield-Bot kits with Arduinos plus a dozen of everything else that works with it! It’s a heavy, tightly-packed box that will keep your students engaged for 60+ hours. You’ll recognize the significant value in this $3,285 box when it arrives. And most importantly, unlike the competition robot systems, every student will be programming with their own kit. This isn’t marketing-speak, but feedback from our customers.

Assessment, Scope and Sequence Material for Shield-Bot for Arduino

Assessment, Scope and Sequence Material for Shield-Bot for Arduino

Educators may request access to Shield-Bot assessment, scope and sequence, and slide shows by e-mail to education@parallax.com. Honestly, we don’t receive too much feedback on the assessment material but we think they’re some of our most useful support material. Drop us a line and let us know if they’re meeting your needs.

Disinfecting Parallax Robots Between Students

Disinfecting Parallax Electronics Between Uses

If you’re running a lab with a checkout system, please see our video on how to disinfect robots between students. 

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