VEX Robotics creates VEXcode VR for remote learning of Computer Science

VEXcode VR utilises a pre-built virtual robot using a drivetrain, sensors and a pen to allow students to solve various challenges. Students can choose from different virtual Playgrounds, including a grid map, an art canvas, and a walled maze to use the virtual robot’s features.

The VEXcode VR software contains tutorial videos that can guide students to get started and there is help available for each block. Just select the help icon and choose a block to read the features of the block and examples of how the block can be used. VEXcode VR also has a number of activities that cover the basic movements, the sensors and more advanced challenges. All of the materials are student-facing so teachers don’t have to adjust or create anything but can, as they are Google Docs.

Why VEXcode VR?
  • Developing coding solutions with a robot provides a relevant context for engaging students in Computer Science.
  • Robots with sensors and physics integrate Computer Science into STEM.
  • Virtual Playgrounds help to contextualise STEM learning and authentic student inquiry.
  • Activities provide a structured and approachable STEM learning experience.
  • VEXcode VR knowledge and principles translate directly to VEX 123, GO, IQ, and V5.
Teacher Support
Teachers can also gain a free online certification in the use of the VEXcode VR software and in doing so, gain an understanding of how it can be used to teach Computer Science in the classroom. Visit https://certifications.vex.com/educator/vexcode-vr-certifications to access information on the course. VEX Robotics have always recognised the importance of CPD and the ability for teachers to work at their own pace is a huge advantage to the online learning offered.

Relevancy in the Classroom
Educational robotics serves Computer Science education in many ways. Robots are fun and they can help bring Computer Science to life. Also, the everyday relevance of robots in the lives of students provides a natural and authentic hook for student learning. The process of developing coding solutions with a robot provides a relevant context for engaging students in Computer Science. Robots utilise physics and sensors in addition to Computer Science further integrating Computer Science into STEM.  The challenges in the Virtual Playgrounds help to contextualise STEM learning and provide the authentic inquiry that best promotes student learning.  
 
Transition from Blocks-to-Text
Since there is no syntax when programming with blocks, many assume that the difficulty in transitioning from blocks-to-text programming is the learning of the syntax in a text-based programming language.  VEXcode VR attempts to scaffold the transition from blocks to text-based programming by providing a visual representation of the Python language as the students create their project in blocks.  Students can also convert their VEXcode Blocks project to a Python project–allowing them to make additional changes in Python. If students are learning a new programming concept (e.g. making a variable), they can begin to apply that knowledge in blocks and then convert their project to Python.  Using the Code Viewer allows the transition from blocks-to-text to be much easier for students and teachers.

Embedded Support
  • You can access help for each command
  • You can use example projects as a reference or as a starting point for a new project
  • You don’t have to memorise the Python commands. Instead, you can drag them into the workspace just like you would with Blocks
  • You can watch a tutorial video on many different topics
  • You can use the Knowledge Base for more information and support
For more information on the software visit vexcode.vex.com or go to vr.vex.com to get started immediately!
 
22/06/2020