On 28th July, program staff held a debriefing meeting with the students and staff of Iliria Primary School, Pristina who attended the “ROBOTEKA: summer schools in Bitola, Macedonia from 18th to 24th July. The summer camp was intended to familiarize the students with robotics and control technology. It is an annual event organized by the Macedonian NGO, ‘ATTE’ which has been supported by USAID Macedonia for the last three years. The students undertook practical activities involving the assembly and programming of robots; competed in competitions between different groups; watched presentations and videos of robots, and visited some businesses that use control technology.
The agenda was filled with a variety of activities in addition to lessons on robotics: visits to movies, museums and local sites; games and making friends with students from Macedonia.This was made easier as all activities were conducted in English language which both countries study. Based on the debriefing session, it appears that the students both enjoyed and benefitted from this event. They completed questionnaires, which indicated that all the participants were satisfied with the content of the training as well as the way that the training was organized: small group works; small group presentations, discussions etc. They clearly gained significant knowledge and skills from the summer camp, as their previous knowledge of robotics was very limited. The students wrote diaries in which they detailed their work with robots:
- “We were introduced to NXT microprocessors.”
- “We learned about its sensors: the ones for touching, lighting and colors, voice and distance.”
- “We learned about some parts of the robots and how to program them.
- “We connected the microprocessor with the sensors and programmed all of them. Then we had lunch.”
- “We had competitions for each sensor”
- “We built and programed robots that play mini-sumo (wrestling)”
- “We also made a robot which plays mini golf.”
They also discussed some philosophical questions regarding robots:
- The connection between the robots that we make and (other) robots is that they’re built to help the humanity and to make things easier for us which means that these robots are doing good things for us.
The teachers from Iliria School who accompanied the students also learnt a lot. The technology teacher suggested organizing a similar event in Kosovo and offered to help organize this. Iliria School is one of the lead schools which will receive equipment from the program for their technology rooms. The teacher and students who attended “Roboteka” are eagerly awaiting the start of the school year so they can continue their learning through modern technology.