New Updates to CoderZ Learning Environment Add to Coding Fun While Making Instruction, Navigation and Administration Easier
Following the recent success of its Cyber Robotics Coding Competition, Intelitek recently made several significant updates to CoderZ, its online learning environment where students in grades 5-12 learn STEM by coding real and virtual 3D robots that will further support educators’ efforts to make computer science education an integral part of the curriculum.
CoderZ helps schools develop fundamental coding and programming skills through fun virtual robotics, and while the makers of CoderZ are constantly releasing new features, the company recently launched these major enhancements:
- Cyber Robotics 101 – a course for learning programming basics when class time may be limited.
- Innovative training activities (project-based missions) to enhance the existing bank of individual lessons to expand student knowledge of robotics programming
- Improved functionality to expand the scope of the platform and the programming training.
- Several new and upcoming tools to improve class management, including class and student progress tracking and progress control
Since the release of CoderZ with the comprehensive “Coding Robots” STEM Curriculum, the number of schools and teachers with CoderZ has grown. To expand the flexibility for teachers in the classroom, Cyber Robotics 101 has been added to the portfolio. Cyber Robotics 101 requires only 10-15 hours of lesson time. The curriculum is aligned around more than 50 training missions divided into 9 sessions:
- Introduction to STEM and CoderZ
- Drive the Robot
- Touch Sensor
- Repeat Loop
- Gyro Loop
- Challenge Missions I
- The Ultrasonic Sensor
- The Color Sensor
- Challenge Missions II
Teachers will have access to an extensive teacher guide, which includes links to presentations, useful pacing tips, YouTube tutorials and more for each session. “The Cyber Robotics 101 is the fastest, most engaging way to introduce coding and robotics to teachers and students,” said Ido Yerushalmi, CEO of Intelitek. “Even teachers with little experience in coding or computer science will be able to use it. Cyber Robotics 101 is great for Cyber Robotics Competition participants to continue in class after the competition or prospective competition participants to prepare students to compete. We are also working on expansion packs to allow advanced students or teachers with more time to go deeper into coding and robotics.”
Smart Blocks is a new feature that allows users to easily create functions/subroutines using a Blockly visual code editor. E.g., if users want the robot to make three right turns, they can use one Smart Block to have the robot perform all three turns. Once users have written the code for a Smart Block, it is always available in the Smart Block menu for future use.
“The Smart Block feature helps students appreciate that simple solutions result in more readable code, added Yerushalmi. “In this way, it encourages them to think in terms of simplifying and streamlining programming, which strengthens their computational thinking overall.”
Heatmap for Progress Tracking
With the new heatmap tool, teachers can now obtain easy-to-understand visual displays of class and student-specific progress, providing perspective on areas of success and struggle. The heatmaps provide a qualitative view of class progress and support drilling down to obtain more quantitative information on each student, allowing the teacher to get actionable insights.
Color blocks beside each student name indicate whether that student scored above or below the class average, couldn’t complete a particular mission or skipped a mission altogether. Educators can click through to see the amount of time spent on a particular mission, the number of attempts made and the actual code that student wrote.
This feature allows for centralized administration of CoderZ, with one person assigning accounts to teachers and students as well as tracking the total number classes using the platform, the number of accounts, student scores and active student status. Administrators can add classes to the CoderZ learning environment and also invite individual students to join. The Org. Admin feature adheres to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).
The learning center will be an organizational tool bundles training missions into mission packs. Users will be able to go directly go to a pack that deals with a specific subject or task rather than picking their way through the array of missions in the mission center. Each mission pack in the learning center will include the relevant parts of the CoderZ curriculum, video tutorials, slideshows and support articles.
Robot Arm Training Mission (to be released December 15)
In this new training mission, students will add to and refine their knowledge base of robotics programming by making the virtual robot’s arm perform tasks. The mission will also incorporate two new types of interactions – pulling and pushing boxes and flipping a switch. In addition to being included in the regular CoderZ curriculum, the arm mission will be in an expansion pack for the crash course.
“This is an exciting time to be a CoderZ user,” said Yerushalmi. “Our community of users at our Cyber Robotics Coding Competitions play such an integral part in our program – they share their ideas on how to improve upon our solution and we listen. These enhancements are a direct result of that feedback, and we’re delighted to have gained so much insight into what our users want and need.”
Intelitek has been transforming education and bringing robotics into classrooms across the globe through comprehensive technology learning solutions for more than 30 years. The Company’s innovative tools and technologies empower instructors and inspire students to improve the world around them. Intelitek’s sustainable support and professional development ensure the continued success of educational programs. By helping deliver the competencies needed for in-demand careers, Intelitek is producing results for students, teachers, nations, and economies. For more information visit www.intelitek.com