In this course-based applied research project, students Mitch Breton, Destini Campbell and Ori MacGraw programmed a little robot to dance the Macarena and the Funky Chicken and to recognize voice and certain types of motion. Roli, as the robot was named, was a toy out of the box. This group of students used a toy as an applied learning tool with the goal to “…develop our knowledge of them and develop curriculum perhaps for public schools to use this as a tool… to teach programming,” said instructor Joe Marriott.
The students were tasked with investigating the usefulness of a simple robot kit as an educational aid to teach programming as well as to develop custom programs to use the EZ-Robot (“Roli”) for demonstration purposes at NBCC public events. MacGraw said that one of the most important things he learned from this project was understanding the language the program used and the difference between its language and others. “[The language is]… simplistic but [that] almost makes it harder at times,” he said.