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Victoria Chaplin
Dr. Fuller
Technology in Education
1 November 2014
Robotics Personal Reflection
Question 1
The robotics unit in Technology in Education was very interesting. I had a great team to
help me venture into the experience that is building robots. We had a good mix of people who
were all willing to do whatever they needed to do. We decided that Dakota was going to be the
Artisan and do most of the physical building of the robot. Dallas agreed to be the Reporter and
we decided that the Reporter should also be the Captain because of the observation aspect of the
Reporters job. We thought it would be easier to observe and direct at the same time rather than
combining building or programming with directing. I wanted to be the Engineer because I
wanted to be close to the physical build since I had never had an opportunity to build a robot.
Deanna was picked to be the Programmer.
As a team we worked together very well. I was in charge of deciphering the instructions
and helping Dakota with building the robot or holding it in place. Dakota was busy building the
robot and was always open to suggestions and corrections. Dallas and Deanna sorted through all
the pieces to the robot and got the kit organized. Then I would have them gathering the pieces
Dakota needed for the next step. It really helped move the build along. Dallas appears to have
taken good notes. Deanna did a great job with the programming. When it was time for us to
program the robot, the programmers who were helping us had gone to class or stepped out for
some reason and we were like Well, I guess we should try it without them. They had left

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instructions next to their programming laptop and Deanna was able to use them to get the robot
moving with very little help from me.
I enjoyed the team aspect more than I thought I would. I have always been a very shy
person and I have only recently been comfortable working in groups. I still prefer to work alone.
I do not believe that this build would have gone very quickly or very well if we were not in
teams. A few times I caught a mistake before we got very far and a few times Dakota caught me
making mistakes. Dallas and Deanna were always giving advice when we came up on problems.
I would have been lost with the programming and I probably would have gotten more frustrated
if I didnt have people counting on me to be calm and get the build done correctly. As a team we
stayed really positive and were friendly throughout the build.

Question 2
I have always believed that robotics is something I would not be good at. I am not very
good with science or math. I love learning new things in science, but I think I miss a lot of
important things. Subsequently, I was incredibly worried that I would not be able to do this
robotics build correctly. I did not know that the term robotics covers so many things. One student
described robots as machines that do things for humans that would be unsafe or that we dont
want to do. This covers robotic arms like on the space station or the ones that build cars. It could
be arms and legs that are controlled by directions given by an amputees brain that is processed
and acted out in the limb.
Originally when I thought of robots I thought of Doctor Who. There are Cybermen who
look humanoid and are controlled by a computer. Then there are Daleks which both are robots
and ride in robots depending on how you think of it. The Dalek exoskeleton is controlled from

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within and functions as a robot. Or I thought of The Iron Giant movie or any other movie with
humanoid robots in it. I didnt think of the non-humanoid machines as being robots. So when we
started this build I expected the robot to be like those toy robots that look like people.
Thanks to this robot build I have a better understanding of robots and robotics. I can see
how robots would make human life better (assuming that they dont take over the world for our
own good like in I Robot). Jobs that are dangerous and unhealthy would be a good job for a robot
instead of humans. For example, after the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan many older
Japanese volunteered to do the clean up so the younger generation would not be exposed to all
the radiation. Robots that could do all of the clean up would have been a great asset and I believe
I heard that this has hastened the development of humanoid robots that can do this type of work.

Question 3
This build was challenging at first. We had to use a lot of critical thinking. When we got
the instructions I was disappointed to note that there were very few worded instructions, instead
Vex opted to use visual instructions. The first day trying to get into the swing of deciphering Vex
hieroglyphs was a tough one. I eventually got the hang of it. I am a visual person, but I also need
words. If I only have one I struggle. Show me and tell me. We had two occurrences where, after
it had been programmed, the robot would not move. Once was the arm. After a classmate
suggested that the arm should be making a noise if we manually lifted it, we realized that the
shaft was not fully in the motor. Once we fixed this the claw stopped working. Though we did
not build the claw we decided that it was probably the same issue and indeed it was. Speaking of
the claw, it was preassembled and missing pieces. When it came time to attach it to the arm of
the robot we realized that the L shaped pieces on either side that served as a wrist were

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missing. I managed to get the general idea of what we needed across to the robot guy who was
hanging out with the tools. With problem solving we had several pieces missing in the kit. We
had to decide if a different piece would work or if we needed to hunt down the correct piece.
Working in a group, not being my favorite way to work, actually turned out to be
necessary. There were times where Dallas or Deanna would offer ideas to solve a problem or
have an idea that Dakota and I had not thought of. The only issue that we had with collaboration
was that there were four people in the group and I feel like a group of three would be more
effective. As the Engineer I was constantly busy either preparing for the next step or making sure
I was explaining the step we were on correctly to the Artisan. The Artisan was busy physically
building the robot. The Team Captain and Reporter were the same for our group and she was
busy keeping us on track, getting things ready for the next step, or taking pictures and writing
what was going on. The Programmer did not have much to do until the programming began. I
think having either the Engineer or the Artisan also do the programming would have been just as
effective.

Question 4
I have decided that robotics is not nearly as scary as I originally suspected it would be
and I think it would be great in collaboration with several subjects. I think that using it at the
beginning of the year to introduce the kids and get them thinking in a fun environment is a great
idea. I will be requisitioning this idea for my own classroom if I can get the grants. I did my first
internship at the Union 6th & 7th Grade Center and they had an interesting system. They had
hallways that were named things like Yale Hallway and in each hallway they had a complete unit
of teachers. It made it easier for the teachers to collaborate. I think if the teachers all collaborate

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on robotics for a few days, it could really help the students connect all of their classes. A lot of
kids dont see how their English classes have anything to do with their Science or Math classes,
but they are all connected. How can you understand your Science textbook if you havent been
taught how to use contextual clues in your English class?
I am an English Education major. At first it was hard to think of ways that robotics could
be used in my classroom, but I realized that they dont have to physically build the robot in my
class for it to be used. I would have the students write about their robots; robots that they have
seen or invented. They would have to use adjectives to describe what it looks like and adverbs to
describe how they do the actions like the robot quickly lifts the block. They could write poems
about a day in the life of a robot. They could write directions for how to build a robot or detailed
examples of how their robot would complete an action. If they are building a robot in a different
class they can keep a detailed journal of how the build is going and what problem they have had
to deal with.

Question 5
At the beginning of the assignment I was nervous. Until I got older I thought things like
robots and cars were things for boys. It wasnt my parents that made me think this. It was
commercials and other kids who were brainwashed into believing the gender stereotypes. Girls
were better at English and creative things. Boys were better at Math and Science. Having gone
through most of the Education program here at NSU I realize that these stereotypes are
completely untrue and can be detrimental to kids who dont fit these stereotypes. If you tell a
little girl that she is not going to be as good as a boy at math or if you tell a little boy that he
wont be as good of a writer as a girl would be, then you will get little girls who arent good at

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math and boys who cant be creative because you told them that they couldnt. Kids will believe
you when you say they are capable of doing things and if you say they arent. When we started
this build I still had some lingering doubts about whether or not I could effectively build a robot,
but I was ready to try.
After the build got started I realized that the mysterious, hard, only-for-boys robotics was
just as easy as building an armature for a sculpture or building an outline for a paper. All I
needed was to use my skills in critical thinking and believe that I could do it. It was not very
hard. I really enjoyed this unit and I feel like it would be a really fun way to get my students
thinking. They might not even realize that they are doing work. There is a certain satisfaction in
building a robot and seeing it move. I think this would be a great unit for the whole school to
collaborate on.