In June 2012, members of the RILE team conducted a pilot study with the 8th grade students at Navarre Middle School to test the effectiveness of teaching Physics (Kinematics) through robotics. The study consisted of teaching notions of displacement, acceleration and velocity. The professor gave a brief lecture, approximately five minutes, followed by several activities using robots to further expand on the topic. The robots were equipped with ultrasonic sensors that sent data to the computer for position vs. time, thus describing the distance travelled by the robot per some time interval such as one second. The data was in the form of a two-column matrix. Students were asked to plot this data on a graphing sheet with the X-axis showing the time and the Y-axis showing the distance. The students could then give the graph to the teacher for assessment or use the graph button on the computer to compare their graph with the computer-generated graph.
Novatech Robo (a kid's discovery robotics camp in India) issued us a challenge: let student's use the RILE Platform from across the globe. RILE assembled a simple maze game to allow students to drive the robots, located in Pensacola, FL, from India, over 8,000 miles away! Students were able to watch the robot's progress via overhead cameras. Everyone had a good time experiencing the new technology.
We first met Edgewater High School at the Florida Educational Technology Conference in February of 2013, and discussed a demonstration of the platform in May. RILE delivered with a complete RILE Lab set up at Edgewater, with our own Chandra Prayaga teaching a culminating lesson of Velocity and Acceleration to groups of Regular, Honors and AP Physics. Students showed a clear interest in the RILE Platform, and 'figured out' how to command the robots to perform the correct movements based on their physics knowledge. They were then able to take the data collected by the robots and confirm that their calculations were accurate. Edgewater High School will be using the RILE Platform in their Physics Classes this fall.