Tuesday, 19 December 2006


The probot has been looked at and used by our Leading Teachers and in computer clubs. It has also been tested in a rigorous research project in Parkhill Junior school. The comments from leading teachers in Mossford and Cleveland Junior are detailed below:

The large LCD panel which displays the commands is an excellent tool and makes it a lot more child friendly than other programmable robots. Pupils can also easily edit the commands they input into the robot, rather than having to start a new programme every time.

The Pro-Bot is more accurate with its turning due to the programmable degree setting. Once again this allows for more effective use when using the dry wipe pen function.

The procedures that are already installed in the programme are a great help for pupils who are finding it difficult to write their own programmes or the teacher does that have much time in the session.

The ability to further the use of the Pro-Bot using a PC is a great function, this could be used for higher achievers.

The handy manual is very simple and straight forward.

Ease of use

The software seemed easy to use. It had a convenient differentiated interface. However these were not clearly labelled and only found through chance. However once the children would experiment, then they should be more easy to use.

After the use of Bee Bot or Roamer I shall be using these with a club of year 3’s.

Negative/points to consider

You have to be very careful with the type of surface you choose when using the Pro-Bot. Carpets do not allow for the Pro-Bot to turn left or right due to the ball bearing getting caught on parts of the carpet that stick up. The best surface is lino or a table top.

The sound sensor is not very responsive. As you have to clap very loudly next to the Pro-Bot and even then it does not respond. If the sensor was moved to the top of the car this may be more beneficial.

The specials menu is a bit more complicated to work; configuring the lights to come on when the car goes into a tunnel may have to be done by the teacher before pupils use the car.

The Pro-Bot lengths (25cm per unit) could be too long for some classrooms floor space so it would be recommendable that the cm unit 91cm per unit) is used in the classrooms.

After reading the instructions and listening to group discussion I found this easier to use the Pro-Bot. However the sensor was more of a sticky issue.

There was an issue with trying to link the probot to the machine, however this should be remedied with the expertise with a good technician.

These points were compiled by John Wix and Veena Naidoo both Leading ICT Teachers in Redbridge redbridge

The comments below are the conclusions drawn from the Parkhill research project:

Difficulties and improvements:
These comments were made by the children when using the Pro-Bot.

The screen was hard to read. Not enough contrast in the colours of the background and programming commands.
The figure 1 and the open bracket looked very similar on the programming screen.
The children weren’t aware when there had been a procedure programmed as there was no indication on the screen. They would have liked to have seen a symbol or something that indicated a procedure was in their program.
The Pro-Bot struggled to turn the correct angle on a rough surface.
The pen holder could be improved.
We couldn’t get the sound sensor to work.
Repeat couldn’t repeat more than 99 times.
You can only program in whole cm’s and whole degree numbers.

Positive comments:

They liked the design of the car.
The buttons were easy to use.
It was useful to be able to save procedures.
They enjoyed watching the car move, drawing out their programs and then checking that they had managed to create the correct shape.
It helped them understand the concept of angles.

This was a very successful project as the Pro-Bot is intuitive to use. The children were extremely keen to do this work and we found that it encouraged collaborative working and improved their communication skills.

with thanks to all @ Parkhill Juniors for their hard work.

Monday, 18 December 2006

2 Simple Maths Games

The first batch of Maths Games were tested last summer by our Maths Ast. Read her comments below:

I've tried out the software 3 times so far with my class as a whole (haven't had an opportunity to get to ICT suite yet). The games definitely have a 'commercial ' appeal of Tetris, Space Invaders, Snake, Super Mario etc. My class, especially the boys, loved th em. At this time of year, as reinforcement, they have been very good. I particularly liked using 'Factoroids' after the Transition unit of developing factors. I think if used individually, the games would also serve as a light hearted reinforcement and application of objectives. Further enjoyment arises from the very 'real-life' application in today's market of Playstation etc games. When it has come to ending our sessions I have been greeted with moans and other requests for continuing. The games are ultimately a light hearted way to reinforce the objectives. I personally believe if Maths is ever viewed as 'fun', then that has to be a good thing.

To find out more click here.