How to Use VRT as a Simple Calculator

We will walk you through the tips and tricks on how to use VRT as a calculator in a few easy steps.

STEP 1

Make sure you have a project open in the Virtual Robotics Toolkit, as well as a blank EV3 project. Turn on the Virtual Brick by clicking the middle button.

STEP 2

The virtual brick needs to be connected to the Virtual Robotics toolkit. Do this by checking the WIFI box.

STEP 3

When you click the red tab, you will see the math block. Drag and drop it to the start of the program. Set the mode to addition, subtraction, multiplication, etc.

STEP 4

Click on the green tab below. Then drag the display block and place it after the math block.

STEP 5

Set it to Text, then choose Pixels. Then click the “Mindstorms” text and select “Wired”.

STEP 6

Click on the results box on the math block and drag it across to connect it to the Text block as shown.

STEP 7

Click on the orange tab. Then drag the wait block and drop it in between the math block and the display block.

STEP 8

Set the time in seconds according to your preferences.

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An Interview with Mylene Abiva (Cogcast #07)

Stream The Cogcast, Hosted by Cogmation Robotics

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BIO

Mylene Abiva is the President & CEO of FELTA Multi-Media Inc., a 56-year-old company that introduces innovative instructional materials and educational devices for school technology. FELTA has been the Education Solution Provider of INTEL Education since 2012.

Mylene has a ton of achievements to her name; she is a former President of the Philippine Marketing Association, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Philippines Women Entrepreneur) 2009, one of the 100 Most Influential Filipina Women in the World Awardee 2016, and the list goes on. 

Mylene is proud to be the first and only female ambassador for the World Robot Olympiad, otherwise known as the WRO, has been involved in her fair share of competitive robotics. She and her company have been the organizers of the Philippine Robotics Olympiad since 2001, the WRO International Final WRO in 2010 in Manila, and the World Robot Olympiad Friendship Invitational 2018 in Cebu.

FELTA has also been heavily involved in Robot Virtual Games, an online robotics platform, which allows students of any age to compete against each other globally.

Timestamp

00:46 – Guest Introduction

2:56 – Currently working on

4:39 – How to innovate a company while staying true to its origins

6:47 – Where does ‘Champion of the Geeks’ come from?

10:32 – How parents can support their children

13:25 – How can students take steps to improve their education

15:57 – What will companies need to innovate next?

17:50 – Virtual competitions with Robot Virtual Games

21:10 – Is homeschooling here to stay?

23:27 – Passion versus purpose

25:36 – Traits that allow leaders to succeed in business

28:40 – Thoughts on emerging tech and the future

30:10 – Her message to the world

Follow Mylene via the links Below

Mylene’s LinkedIn

Mylene’s Facebook

Mylene’s email

Mylene’s TEDx Talk

FELTA’s website

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Virtual Robotics: The Essential Addition To School Curricula

Are your students learning the old school way and are they bored while they’re in class? Do you struggle with keeping them engaged and excited about the educational material? It’s time to modify your curriculum.

In today’s fast-paced era, school courses need to evolve along with the job market. Were YouTubers around 20 years ago? Could you make money by streaming on Twitch back when you were a kid? I don’t think so, but now these opportunities are a reality.

When you look back on your school and university days, do you think the subjects you learned have been helpful in your day-to-day life now? Were you taught how to code or even how to use a computer? Were you taught the purpose of algebra and matrices in the real world?

Imagine if you knew all these at school, how meaningful and enjoyable your past learning experiences would have been! That’s why it’s important to ensure your child’s education is relevant to future goals.

Virtual robotics, and more specifically, The Virtual Robotics Toolkit (VRT) is here to prepare communities for the future of work. This software encourages early STEAM learning by offering students the freedom to discover new knowledge and explore their own artistic visions, free from the restrictions of a syllabus; this freedom enables them to explore different career paths at an early age and unleash their creativity by integrating programming and analytical skills. COVID-19 made it difficult to teach on campus, but what makes a digital solution like VRT great is that it doesn’t require students and teachers to be together physically.

Using this platform, children can study at their own pace and cultivate teamwork skills without a classroom. In addition, VRT is unique because it helps students gain cross-cultural teamwork experience, which means they can interact with other students from all over the world by taking part in competitions and projects. VRT makes math and programming fun, unlike traditional classrooms, where students yawn at boring Computer Science lectures.  

“If you are raising your children the way you were being raised, then you are preparing them for a world that no longer exists.”

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Which Software Should I Download?

One of the best things about the Virtual Robotics Toolkit is its flexibility – it’s compatible with lots of other software!
But with great flexibility, comes great responsibility, and that’s why it’s our job to help you choose which additional software to download and use with VRT.

We’ve designed a handy little chart below for you, which sums all of this advice up (and which you can take a screenshot of so that you can refer to it later).

Option #1 – Download Only the Virtual Robotics Toolkit

The Virtual Robotics Toolkit is powerful enough on its own, that it can be used without the need for any additional software! This option is the best choice if you are a Mac user, since all of the additional software is compatible only with Windows devices.

You should also choose this option if you are not interested in coding your virtual robot with the EV3 programming language, AND if you’re not interested in importing custom robots into the simulator. Don’t worry, even if you’re a Mac user, you can still use Microsoft MakeCode (already embedded within the Virtual Robotics Toolkit) to code using the Blockly and Javascript languages.

Option #2 – Download the Virtual Robotics Toolkit and the EV3 Software

If you’re interested in programming using the EV3 programming language, but if you’re NOT interested in importing your own custom robots into the simulator, option #2 is the one for you! Once the EV3 software is installed, you’ll have the flexibility to code with the Blockly, Javascript, or EV3 languages.

Option #3 – Download the Virtual Robotics Toolkit, LEGO Digital Designer®, and LDraw

If you’re hoping to import custom robots, but don’t want to code using the EV3 programming language, the only additional software you need to download are LEGO Digital Designer® and LDraw!

With this option, you will have the ability to build and import custom robots into the simulator; you will also be able to program using either the Blockly or Javascript languages using the embedded Microsoft MakeCode window.

Option #4 – Download the Virtual Robotics Toolkit, the EV3 Software, LEGO Digital Designer®, and LDraw

This last option offers you the most functionality when using the Virtual Robotics Toolkit. By downloading the Virtual Robotics Toolkit, the EV3 Software, LEGO Digital Designer®, and LDraw, you will be able to code using the EV3 language, as well as import your own custom robots into the simulator.

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An Interview with Murtaza Sinnarwala (The Cogcast #006)

Stream The Cogcast, Hosted by Cogmation Robotics

Bio

Murtaza Sinnarwala is an Apple Education Specialist working in the UAE, though he’s worn many hats in the education space throughout his career. After earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Masters in Business Administration in Quality Management, he went on to work as a Quality Engineer at LG Electronics, before later becoming a LEGO Certified Trainer, ATLAB Training Head, and more. In the latter role, he helped the organization deliver STEM, Robotics, and AI Training worldwide. Murtaza has been coaching K – University technology and Educators for over 10 years. He is also a passionate advocate for Project Based Learning PBL and mental health. What’s more, he is a soon-to-be co-author with a book titled ‘Amplify Learning’, set to launch in 2022.

Timestamps

00:00 – Guest Introduction

2:34 – Introduction

3:45 – The role of companies in education

6:39 – Why standardized testing doesn’t work

9:58 – His biggest takeaway from working in education

12:45 – Why losing skills is a good thing

14:48 – Well-being and self-care for educators

18:22 – Empowering students to continue learning

20:43 – What teachers should do differently post-COVID

22:55 – Thoughts on the K-12 education system

25:00 – Emerging technology he’s excited about

Follow Murtaza via the links below ↓

Murtaza’s Twitter

Murtaza’s Instagram

Murtaza’s LinkedIn

Murtaza’s website



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An Interview with Adam El Rafey (The Cogcast #05)

Stream The Cogcast, Hosted by Cogmation Robotics


Bio

Adam El Rafey is a super social, 11-year-old public speaker, innovator, learning enthusiast, and thought leader. He is passionate about reforming the traditional education system, inspiring others to voice their opinions, helping people make a difference regardless of their age, and strongly believes that decisions should be made based on ability, not age. Adam is one of the youngest TEDx speakers globally and has spoken at over 19 major conferences such as GITEX, GESS, and Dubai Future Week. He is no stranger to media having been featured in numerous newspapers, TV segments, radio shows, and podcasts. He is an Awecademy Alumnus, currently the youngest innovator at The Knowledge Society’s virtual global program, and attends both primary and secondary school. He is a big AR/VR enthusiast and science and tech lover. Adam loves following his intellectual curiosity and always finds himself down one rabbit hole or another and emerging with some fascinating discoveries!


Timestamps

1:00 – Introduction

2:05 – Finding your voice

3:17 – Where he gets his confidence?

5:00 – The best mentors he had

9:14 – Reforming education system

12:49 – What is Kinesthetic Learning?

14:29 – How parents can foster success for their children?

15:59 – Parents’ encouragement

17:24 – What “The Knowledge Society” gave him?

19:32 – The next 10 years in STEM!!

22:52 – The role of companies in education

25:48 – Message to the World


Follow Adam El Rafey via the links below ↓

Adam’s Instagram

Adam’s LinkedIn


Click On Other Useful Links

The Knowledge Society

Adam Podcast Info

Awecademy

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How to Customize Floors in the Virtual Robotics Toolkit

robot in sandbox with earth picture; how to customize floors in the virtual robotics toolkit
  1. Enter Advanced Mode by pressing F12 (or Fn + F12) on your keyboard
  2. Click the Objects Library button in the top toolbar.
3D shapes grouped together

3. Find the object titled, “Floor”. This may be located in a different part of the objects library, depending on which project mat you have open. For example, in Sandbox Challenge, “Floor” can be found by expanding “Sandbox” in the objects library. Object lists can be expanded by clicking on the plus sign (+) on the left hand side of the object.

4. Click on “Floor”.

5. Click the Object Properties button, which is also located in the top toolbar.

6. Scroll down and click “Material / Texture” in the Object Properties window.

7. Click the pencil icon in the lower left hand corner.

8. Click on the picture of the mat, which can be seen on the right hand side of the window that pops up. In the Sandbox Challenge, this picture is a white square with smaller blue, green, red, and black squares on it.

9. Once the Texture Selection window shows up, you may either select a new mat picture from one of the options listed, or click “Browse” in the lower left hand corner to select a file from your own computer.

10. Select your picture file (which must either be in JPEG or PNG format) and then click “Apply”. Click “Apply” once more, then click “OK”.

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An Interview with Stephanie Carrasco (The Cogcast #004)

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Bio

Stephanie Carrasco is a Coordinator of Advanced Academics for the Socorro Independent School District, also known as SISD. Located in El Paso, Texas, this district is home to nearly 50,000 students. For four years she has handled academic events for the district, including a decathalon and a huge robotics competition, which we’ll hear more about soon.

Stephanie has a wide-ranging skillset, having a background in the sciences before earning her Master’s Degree in Educational Technology and Leadership from Lamar University. She is a passionate educator who strives to ensure that her students graduate as career-ready professionals who continue to be learners long after they’ve left the district.


Timestamps

2:12 – Introduction

3:06 – ROBOCOM 7.0

7:15 – What surprised her about the shift to virtual competition

9:35 – Making students career ready and pride in district

14:33 – What she learns from her students

20:02 – Assessing programs and knowing which technology is good for students

24:51 – The next 10 years

29:59 – Message to the world

31:41 – Closing Remarks


Follow Stephanie via the links below ↓

Stephanie’s Twitter – https://twitter.com/YCarrasco_AA

Article: ROBOCOM 7.0 goes virtual – https://bit.ly/3sDO6xP 

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An Interview with Yücel Tekin (The Cogcast #003)

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Bio

Yücel Tekin is the founder and CEO of Robotum, an organization which facilitates robotics workshops for children and teens between the ages of 6 and 19. Before working on his company full-time, Yücel had experience as the Director of Distance Learning at Atilim University, as a Chief Information Officer in the military, as an ICT Instructor, and more. Robotum acts as a consultant to schools and institutions interested in technology education and competitive robotics. Their talented team of youth builders and programmers routinely attends national and international competitions such as FIRST LEGO League Jr., FIRST LEGO League, and World Robot Olympiad. Having four degrees, Yücel is a well-educated and experienced individual. After completing two undergraduate degrees in Management and Computer Science, he earned his Master’s in Education Technology, before finally achieving his Ph.D. based on his research into the effects of robotics on mathematics.


Timestamps

2:00 – Introduction

4:10 – The most rewarding part of his job & working with Baskinet University

5:35 – How he discovered the Virtual Robotics Toolkit

7:40 – What he learns from his students

9:23 – Teaching his son and his role as a parent

12:58 – The advantages of virtual robotics

15:25 – His view on the next 10 years in STE(A)M

17:33 – Changing career paths & his educational background

21:18 – What the future classroom will look like and why education should be personalized

24:06 – His message to the world


Follow Yücel and Robotum via the links below ↓

Yücel’s website

Yücel’s LinkedIn

Yücel’s YouTube

Robotum’s Facebook

Robotum’s Instagram

Read our 2019 interview with Yücel

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An Interview with Marvin Castillo (The Cogcast #002)

Stream The Cogcast, Hosted by Cogmation Robotics

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Bio

Marvin Castillo is the Executive Director and President of FUNDESTEAM, a Non-Profit Organization specialized in the development and implementation of STEAM education in public and private schools. This organization has already reached 20,000 children from socially vulnerable areas, and on a weekly basis they have the opportunity to participate in robotics competitions and science projects. While having an engineering background, Marvin is well-versed in the business world. He’s sold houses, diving services, ship repairs, and built a multi-million dollar company from a laptop in his bedroom. Today, he is a National Organizer for the World Robot Olympiad and is heading the expansion of Robot Virtual Games, a entirely digital platform that provides students around the world with affordable and powerful opportunities to learn coding through robotics.


Timestamps

0:00​ – Intro

2:20​ – What he’s currently working on

3:32​ – Early beginnings

6:42​ – Starting a multi-million dollar company, advice to young entrepreneurs

14:40​ – Solving problems with an engineering mindset

17:30​ – The importance of arts in STEAM

20:25​ – What he’s learned from getting involved in the robotics community

26:35​ – First impressions of the Virtual Robotics Toolkit

33:10​ – Transforming Panama’s educational system during a pandemic

36:51​ – The future of education

40:05​ – Message to students, teachers, and the robotics community


Follow Marvin and Robot Virtual Games via the links below ↓

Marvin’s Twitter

Marvin’s Facebook

Marvin’s Instagram

Marvin’s LinkedIn

Robot Virtual Games website

Robot Virtual Games Twitter

Robot Virtual Games Facebook

Robot Virtual Games Instagram

Robot Virtual Games TikTok

Sound effects from https://www.zapsplat.com​​.

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