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Personal Robots: An Impactful Context for Introductory CS Education

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1200 undergraduate women, 400 graduate students (co-ed) ... Robots made learning experience more hands-on, tangible, and exciting. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Personal Robots: An Impactful Context for Introductory CS Education


1
Personal Robots An Impactful Context for
Introductory CS Education
  • Prof. Tucker Balch, Georgia Institute of
    Technology
  • Dr. Stewart Tansley, Microsoft Research
  • Prof. Doug Blank, Bryn Mawr College
  • Dr. Jay Summet, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Deepak Kumar, Mark Guzdial, Keith OHara, Daniel
    Walker, Jared Jackson, Gaurav Gupta, Monica Sweat
  • The Institute for Personal Robots in Education

2
IPRE Overview
  • Mission
  • Make education more fun and effective through the
    use of personal robots.
  • Audience All levels, from middle school to
    graduate school.
  • Joint effort hosted at Georgia Tech with Bryn
    Mawr ( MSR).
  • 3 year seed funding provided by Microsoft
    Research.
  • Special ingredient and hypothesis
  • a personal robot for every student programmer

3
IPRE Lead Institutions
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Tier 1 research university.
  • 15,000 students.
  • Mostly male.
  • Bryn Mawr College
  • Liberal arts college near Philadelphia, founded
    in 1885.
  • 1200 undergraduate women, 400 graduate students
    (co-ed).
  • New program begun in 2000 in CS offers BA in
    Computer Science, minor in CS, and minor in
    Computational Methods.

4
First Target Introductory CS
  • Why this target?
  • Importance Declining undergraduate CS
    enrollment. No one to fill jobs loss of
    intellectual capital. Can CS be more appealing?
  • Relevance Robots are a compelling platform for
    explaining process (the essence of computing).
  • Impact Introductory CS is a required or
    encouraged course for many students.

5
Example How Context Can Help
  • 1999 Intro CS required for all degrees at
    Georgia Tech 2000 students every year.
  • Success rate
  • Women 61 passed
  • Men 72 passed
  • Non-CS Majors 50 passed

6
Example How Context Can Help
  • 2003, A new approach Media context.
  • Success rate improved
  • Women 88 passed
  • Men 84 passed
  • Non-CS Majors 86 passed

7
(No Transcript)
8
MSR for IPRE
  • Microsoft Research
  • Founded 1991
  • 800 researchers, 55 research areas, 6 labs
  • 800 interns in 2007
  • 3500 peer-reviewed papers to date
  • External Research university partnerships
  • Science
  • http//microsoft.com/science
  • Computer Science
  • http//research.microsoft.com/ur
  • Research Education
  • Microsoft Robotics
  • MSRS announced summer 2006
  • v1.5 available today, 0 until you sell robots
  • A Robot In Every Home
  • Scientific American, Jan 2007/Feb 2008
  • http//microsoft.com/robotics

9
Personal Robots for CS Components of the Approach
  • A personal robot.
  • Approachable software/programming environment.
  • An engaging curriculum.
  • Quantitative assessment.
  • Philosophy The curriculum drives the design of
    the robot, software, and text.
  • Engage the community.

10
A Robot for CS Education
?
  • Note This is not robotics research.
  • Personal Every student with her own robot.
  • No labs with expensive robots.
  • Instead Inexpensive robots in the campus
    bookstore.
  • Reliable No mystery regarding does it work?
  • Break the compile-download-run cycle.
  • Leverage the desktop.

11
IPRE Pilot Robot 195
  • 3 Light sensors
  • 2 IR sensors
  • 2 Line sensors
  • Stall sensor
  • Speaker
  • 3 LEDs
  • 2 motors
  • Bluetooth wireless

12
IPRE Pilot Robot v2 149.95
  • 256x192 color camera
  • Raw images (0.5 HZ)
  • On board color segmentation (6 HZ)
  • Battery voltage sensing
  • Very bright rear facing LED
  • I2C extension port
  • IR emitters and receiver
  • Obstacle/Wall detection
  • Inter-Robot Communication

13
IPRE Gyro 120
14
Software for CS Education
  • Myro My Robot.
  • Focus on learnability
  • HAPI Human-Application Programming Interface
  • Pedagogically scalable easy for first-time
    users, yet powerful and flexible for more
    advanced users
  • Phase 1 is Python-centric, platform agnostic.
  • Follow on language agnostic.

15
Software Stack
16
Myro SoftwareSample Program (Python)
def main() while True Left, Right
getIR() if Left
turnRight(turnSpeed) elif Right
turnLeft(turnSpeed) else
forward(cruiseSpeed)
Avoiding Obstacles from myro import
initialize(ask(What port?)) program
settings... cruiseSpeed 0.6 turnSpeed 0.5
17
Example Test Question
  • Assume you have routines
  • TurnLeft90()
  • TurnRight90()
  • GoForwardOneFoot()
  • Write the code that would cause a robot to follow
    the illustrated path.

1 ft
2 ft
1 ft
18
Sample Assignment
  • Corral Exiting/EscapeImagine a corral (an
    enclosed area with maze like partitions and an
    entrance) with a light source at the entrance (as
    shown in the figure to the right). Given the
    robot's position, can we design a behavior that
    will enable the robot to exit the corral?

19
CS1 Text (Chapter Outline)
  • Chapter 1 The World of Robots
  • Chapter 2 Robots Personal or Otherwise
  • Chapter 3 Building Brains
  • Chapter 4 Sensing the World
  • Chapter 5 Making Decisions
  • Chapter 6 Behaviors
  • Chapter 7 Control Paradigms
  • Chapter 8 Making Music
  • Chapter 9 Communication
  • Chapter 10 Computing Computation
  • Chapter 11 Artificial Intelligence
  • Chapter 12 Robots in the World

20
Data Collection and Assessment
  • Population to date
  • At Georgia Tech
  • 2 traditional CS-1 courses
  • 4 robot CS-1 courses
  • At Bryn Mawr
  • 2 robot CS-1 courses
  • Fall 2008
  • Roll out at up to 8 additional institutions.

21
The Course at GT
22
Video
23
Video
24
BMC Pilot Course Spring 2007
  • 24 students (22 women, 2 men)
  • Learned CS concepts through robots.
  • Robots made learning experience more hands-on,
    tangible, and exciting.
  • Most frustrating parts were dealing with robot
    hardware inconsistencies.
  • Viewed CS as a type of logic and problem solving
    requiring patience thought.
  • Discovered that CS and robots are applicable to
    the real world.

25
BMC Pilot Courses
  • Liked the use of personal robots
  • Did not like quirky issues with Scribblers
  • Learned programming and problem solving (as
    opposed to just robotics)

26
GT Initial Results
  • gt 90 success rate among CS majors.
  • Students felt that the course was focused on
    computer science, not on robotics.
  • The frustrations in the course were mostly about
    the robot Under-featured, difficult to maintain.
  • No significant difference in success/failure
    rates from robotics vs. non-robotics sections
    (Spring 2007 still assessing Fall 2008).

27
Thats Great But is it Open
  • Yes!
  • Textbook is jointly edited by wiki
  • Myro is under BSD license
  • Hardware specs, firmware, etc will be published

28
  • Want a robot?
  • www.roboteducation.org

29
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