Youngsters programming skills put to the test in Wales

Young people from across Wales are gearing themselves up to create the next Wall-e in a ‘Robotics of the future’ competition run by the Technocamps project.

Almost 50 schools from across the convergence area in Wales have taken delivery of Lego Mindstorm kits and Arduinos as part of a drive to encourage young people to develop programming skills that can benefit their future careers.

The competition organised by one of ITWales major projects Technocamps will require each team to make a robot and perform a specific task to help the environment of the future. They will then get the chance to showcase their skills at a final in June, which will also include a live ‘End of term ROBO-Prom’ challenge, where the youngsters skills will be put to the test when tasked with adapting the robot with different moves, speeds and features.

The competition is being led by Technocamps at Swansea University in conjunction with its partner universities of Aberystwyth, Bangor and Glamorgan.  Over the next few months leading up to the competition final in June the teams will be working hard to come up with their task and build their robots in their Technoclubs, which are extra-curricular clubs run lunchtime or after school. 

In addition to creating the robots, each team will also have to produce an A3 poster providing details on the robots name, its unique features and functionalities, information about the kits and components and the roles of each team member as part of the design and build process. They will also be expected to develop a video that will, document the design and build process, including the development of hardware and software, the testing process, building up to the final design.

Neil Taylor, Territory Manager for LEGO Education in Wales, added, “’We’re really excited by the work that Technocamps are carrying out across Wales, and this is a fantastic opportunity for students to get hands on and be creative in developing their design, engineering and programming skills, and apply them to a real life scenario.  I’m sure that the competition will be a huge success’

Helen Christopher, Head of ICT at Porthcawl Comprehensive School, Porthcawl, said, ‘As soon as the word “Lego Robots” was mentioned I have been inundated with pupils’ both male and female wanting to take part in this competition.  They have been so excited with the opportunity Technocamps have provided and are thoroughly looking forward to developing the robot to solve a real life challenge.  It has enabled us to integrate pupils’ from Year 7-10 as part of the project and we have set-up an additional competition with two Techncoclubs one for boys and one for girls, with the best solution being entered with Technocamps.  This is a unique opportunity and it is fantastic to see both genders enthused by learning programming.  We hope this will see numbers grown at GCSE and A-level in the future and make girls realise that programming is not just for boys’.

Director of Technocamps, Professor Faron Moller, said, “This competition provides a great opportunity for young people to really test their programming skills.  It will assess their logic and analytical thinking, problem solving skills as well team work that will benefit them in the future.’

For further information, contact Siân Jones, Communications Manager on 01792 606652 or email communications@technocamps.com