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Junkbots: End of an era... start of another

The funding for the junkbots project has now come to an end.So what were the outcomes.

Figure 1Overall Results

Figure 1 shows how the overall score for the whole project. Overall the student were satisfied/ok (around 3) or more than satisfied ( 4 or 5). There seems to be a linkage between the junkbot building exercises and the overall satisfaction ratings. Programming on the whole had slightly lower satisfaction scores but ok scores.

Figure 2: Comparison of the overall event scores across the schools.
Figure 2 shows scores for the overall project for each school. Overall as mentioned previous the response is very positive (all the results were 89% or higher 3,4, or 5 ratings). There were variations in the level of satisfaction. The school were students were selected the student's based on ability or interest tended to have satisfaction scores that were higher.Does this mean the approaches are more suited to the gifted and talented. Probably not as the satisfaction scores were reasonable for all the schools.

Figure 3: Comparison of the junkbots ratings across the schools.

Figure 3 shows  the ratings for the junkbot building activity alone. As has already been observed they are similar to the overall event results but there are variations between schools. One school in particular the results for this activity were lower, one possible reason for this was the age of the students, this was the youngest group.

Figure 4: Comparison of the robot programming ratings across the schools.
Figure 4 shows the ratings for the exercises involving programming LEGO robots to solve the junk clearing tasks built with the junkbots previously.  This was always likely to be most challenging of the tasks. Very few if any of the students had done any programming before, so been all new, with only one robot per group was always likely to be a concern. In reality the results were on the whole very good and what the some of the students did with the robots actually was very impressive.

Is it a success?
Yes the satisfaction scores are good, the students produced some very good designs and in the case of programming robots in Java did something that the schools probably haven't got the capacity to do on their own (though robots in school has a long history). The students got to meet practising STEM professionals and students. So thank you to all the schools who have taken part, as well as the university students and staff who took part.

Where next?
Even though the funding has finished, the project carries on. Activities from the project will carry on, as an example, one of the schools we worked with previously we will be working with on the 30th March 2011 building junkbots.

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