Presented by:

Tom Lauwers

from BirdBrain Technologies LLC

Tom is Founder and CEO at BirdBrain Technologies, located in Pittsburgh, PA. He seeks to design educational tools that catalyze positive making, coding, and engineering learning experiences in the classroom.

Tom received a Ph.D in robotics in 2010 from Carnegie Mellon in part for his work designing the Finch Robot and Hummingbird Robotics Kit. Tom's research was founded on engaging all students, regardless of background, in robotics and engineering, and BirdBrain's products continue this mission. The Finch is a small robot designed to inspire and delight students learning computer science by providing a tangible representation of their code. The Hummingbird is a kit that allows students to create and program robots built from electronic components and craft materials.

Tom resides in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood with his wife, two kids, cat, and a small army of robots. He would be an invaluable ally in the event of a robot uprising.

Erin Whitaker is the Middle School Technology Coordinator at Sewickley Academy, an independent school just north of Pittsburgh, PA, where she teaches Technology & Computer Science courses and supports faculty in instructional technology. She holds a B.A. in Mathematics and M.Ed. in Instructional Technology and has been teaching in the Pittsburgh area for over 10 years. Erin has been at the forefront of adopting and adapting new instructional tools and practices including flipped classroom, project-based learning, and makerspaces and loves collaborating with other faculty on ways to integrate technology effectively in their classrooms.

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Remote robots are robotics projects that can be accessed and programmed via the internet by anyone from anywhere. These robots use the NetsBlox platform, a multiplayer networking blocks programming environment that is derived from Snap!

This workshop has two goals: 1. Demonstrate how to build a remote robot. We will use the Hummingbird robotics kit in our example, but the concepts presented apply readily to any microcontroller or robot that has a Snap! extension. 2. Discuss examples of how remote robots have been used to broaden access to physical computing by teachers and others.

Remote Robots offer a way to inject physical computing and IoT concepts into the online/virtual space; it provides an experience that is more compelling than a simulation, at low or potentially no cost to the student.

Participants do not need to have any robotics/electronics kit at home to participate, but they will get to program a real robot!

Link to slides:

Discuss on the Snap! Forum

1 h
Zoom 2
Snap!Con 2020