Resource Review

We have often been asked about the best robot/programming choices at the different key stages.  This is not exhaustive but is our view of the choices:

KS1 
*****BeeBotApprox £50/Each This is a floor robot with forward, left turn, right turn, back and an impressive 42 step memory.  A much used and loved robot
****Infant Video tool kit – 2GOApprox £50/Each 2Go allows all the commands of BeeBot to be explored on a simple computer
KS2
****Pro-BotApprox £87/Each Builds on the logical functions of BeeBot but adds programmable distance, repeat, sensors and procedures.  It has a very neat function of being able to draw its path.  In short this meets a large amount of the programming requirements of the ICT curriculum.
*****Turtle-CT from textease.comApprox £50/Each This is a great logo based programming environment which matches the floor robot but gives some great additional programming  capabilities.  The Pro-Bot and Turtle-CT would complete the programming requirements of the ICT curriculum
****Scratchfree resource This is a great late KS2 resource and can really build on the programming skills of the students.  Its game environment is relatively easy to understand and a level 4 maths student usually can complete a game program.  It can be extended with  boards which allow sensors interact with Scratch programs.  In this way the package can meet the full requirements of the KS2 ICT curriculum.
***Lego WeDOApprox £98/Each This is a great resource and gives the students a high degree of freedom in the type of robot they build.  The language is functional block based and is more complex than the Pro-Bot environment.  Resource management of parts is essential for the effective use of the resource.  The whole of the programming element can be achieved with these sets.
***Scribbler S2Approx £80/Each This is another floor robot from a US company and has a better set of control sensors.  However it cannot be given direct angle commands which limits its use as a Maths Robot. It does meet a large amount of the programming requirements of the ICT curriculum.
***Moway RobotApprox £178/Each Another great floor robot with more sensors than Pro-Bot and an ability to follow lines.  However there is no ability to draw and this considerably reduces the possible lessons.
***Flowol 4Approx £180 site licence A flow diagram based software which allows automation of machines on the screen.  This teaches the concept of flow diagrams in a beautifully simple way.  The package can be extended to control real world LEGO or KNEX models.Once again this meets the whole programming aspects of the new KS2 curriculum.
***Thymio iiApprox E140/Each from France This is a fantastic robot with a beginners programming language and an advanced language.  The robot has more sensors than any other equivalent competitor including limit sensors, accelerometer and temperature sensor.  It has the usual pen holder.  However it does not have the facility to turn an exact amount of angles.  A brilliant KS2 and KS3 robot which has yet to be fully exploited.
****Google Blocky Google Blocky  is very similar to scratch but has the ability to be translated directly into different code.  This is a great top KS2 or Code club resource.  However it really comes into its own  at KS3/4.
KS3
****ScratchFree resource This is also a great late KS2 and KS3 resource and can cover all the programming needs of this stage.   It can be extended with  boards which allow sensors to interact with Scratch programs.  It also can control LEGO sensor and motors, Maplin robotic arms and Raspberry Pi robots.
***KudoFree This is a graphical block coding environment which produces high quality 3D games. However for my money I like the simpler Scratch which can be used to teach Maths more successfully.
****Lego WeDOApprox £98/Each Consider this resource when combined with Scratch to teach control elements
Lego NXTApprox £300/Each This resource requires a considerable amount of investment before students can get effective results.  However, once the work has been put in, this resource allows the student develop control concepts all the way to KS5 and beyond.
KS4
****ScratchFree resource Good old Scratch even has a place at this level as there are code translators which will enable you to learn python by programming in Scratch.
***UnityFree resource A professional gaming environment which can be used to teach JavaScript.  Highly involved and can make for an exceptional long term project environment.
****Raspberry PiApprox £300/Each There are some nice raspberry pi control projects which can be completed either using Python or Java script
****Lego NXTApprox £300/Each This resource requires a considerable amount of investment before students can get effective results.  However, once the work has been put in, this resource allows the student develop control concepts all the way to KS5 and beyond.

I would love to hear from other practitioners on their choices.

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