Computer Science Hybrid collaboration lesson
23 June 2020
In IGCSE Computer Science, year 10 students were investigating the role of sensors in programming by building MakeX robots and programming them to follow a white line on a black background. The students in class acted as engineers with their online counterparts as programmers, writing the code to control the sensors, motors, movement and sensor feedback. Many of the online students are working in China and S. E Asia, so this is a genuine international collaboration. Students communicate through a Teams meeting with their developers, sharing code, video, audio and chat to iterate and test their engineering and code. In commercial software development, people often work remotely across different platforms so this represents an authentic learning experience with real world applications.
The sensor array uses IR transmitters and receivers, passed through an ADC (Analogue to Digital Converter)to interpret the sensor feedback. This binary signal is the translated into direction and power instructions for the motors and wheels to keep the robot on track. All these processes are key elements in understanding sensor input as part of the IGCSE.
It requires creative thinking by teachers to develop genuine collaboration during hybrid learning but that should not put people off trying. I have found the students to be resourceful and inventive, often devising ways to solve problems with language, file sharing and communication independently. They have definitely risen to the challenge.
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