Archive for Uncategorized

Mar 24

The definition of robotics changes based on ubiquity (definition).

Thanks to modern technology and a thriving IT-economy which demands STEM education at earlier ages, we have a growing marketplace which provide robotics at earlier ages with the following core themes which continue to evolve today:

    1. Robots MOVE: Since the creation of the word “Robot” in 1920 meaning “labour,” all robots are expected to move. Pitsco Education offers a Hydraulic Robot which would create a discussion of whether it is a robot at all, because it does provide movement and power (hydraulic), but sensing and intelligence could be discussed with spirited results.

      Pitsco Hydraulic Robot Arm

    2. Robots ARE INTELLIGENT: Robots are indisputably intelligent, and with our already-ubiquitous proliferation of Smartphones and Mobile computing devices making the difference between a computer and a robot drawn between a thin line of MOVEMENT. I still own a Valiant Roamer robot where directions must be plugged into the bot ahead of time in order to create movement, but if not programmed correctly, the bot will bump into locations.

      Valiant Roamer Robot

    3. Robots NEED POWER: Like lifeforms, robots need a power source. Theo Jansen has appeared on TED several times for his creation of “a new form of life,” but if you view the video I believe he has created robots with a unique power system.
    4. Robots HAVE SENSORS: This would be the newest editions to the lines of robotics. In a previous post I talked about the BirdBrain Technologies LLC Robotic Finches, which for $99 have Light, temperature, and obstacle sensors
      Accelerometers and Motors
      Buzzer and Full-color beak LED

Do you need all FOUR in order to have a ROBOT? This would be the same argument as saying “classic cars are not CARS.” Modern robots offer much more than their classic counterparts.

Changing Culture through “Coopertition”

The Boy Scouts Offer a Robotics Patch Starting in 2011, and one of the criteria are to:

“6. Competitions. Do ONE of the following.
Attend a robotics competition and report to your counselor what you saw and learned about the competition and how teams are organized and managed.
Learn about three youth robotics competitions. Tell your counselor about these, including the type of competition, time commitment, age of the participants, and how many teams are involved.”

I can think of no better Competition that values Cooperation and “Gracious Professionalism” (called “Coopertition”) than the FIRST Robotics Competition Lines.  FIRST stands For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology.

  1. Junior FIRST LEGO League (Jr.FLL) (Ages 6-9): Robots are built using a LEGO® base kit.
  2. FIRST LEGO League (FLL) (Ages 9-16): This competition uses the LEGO Robotics Series.
  3. FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) (Middle and High School): Robots are built using a TETRIX® platform.
  4. FIRST Robotics Competition (High School): This competition uses some of the most sophisticated hardware and software available.
Feb 09

On February 8, 2014 I gave workshop at the 2014 Central Virginia Youth Leadership Summit to young adults ages 14 – 21 about “Authenticity – Using STEM to Make Your World Real.”

“Your generation is very attuned to doubting what you see around you, but instead you should be investigating and applying Math-Science-Engineering/Computer Science & Technology to draw your own personal conclusions. Leaders who have the ability to make things authentic to others will be the inspirational and unforgettable. This session will show the layers of Authenticity, and how to use STEM to constantly make what you see and hear personally realistic to you and therefore real to others around you. (E. Malick)”

 My inspiration for seeing our young adult’s sensitivity to inherently perceive things as “REAL” or “FAKE” was a 2010 DICE Summit TED Talk by Jesse Schell at Schell Games about “When Games Invade Real Life. (Note: This is not a formal TED talk, so there is some cursing in this video)” Jesse stated his new perspective to this generation focusing and preferring to purchase things perceived as real was a book called Authenticity: What Consumers Really Want by James H. Gilmore and B. Joseph Pine II.


After reading this book cover-to-cover I promptly began changing my lesson plans for STEM Education in Atlee High School  and STEM summer camps for middle and elementary school starting in 2010 to focus on making my objective “real” and communicating why my activities were meaningful, even discarding a significant porting of class activities (mostly on paper) because they would be perceived as “meaningless” and “phony” by my students.

According to Gilmore and Pine, here is the “History of Consumption”

* Oldest – Agrarian: Based on Supply/ Availability
* 2nd Oldest – Industrial/Manufacturing: Based on Cost/Affordability
* Most Recent – Brands and Performance: Based on Quantity/Service
* TODAY: Based on Authenticity (Experience Economy)

According to Sir Ken Robinson and his 2010 TED Talk on “Ken Robinson: Changing education paradigms” schools are still following the 2nd Oldest – Industrial Model of Education.

Sir Ken states our educational systems focus on the same Industrial Model as the Industrial Era they were created, stating if we teach our students learn the exact same things the exact same way, we should get the exact level of success for all students. Unfortunately I believe for this current generation of students and young adults who are the Authentic Generation, the exact same things the exact same way are often contrived as “Fake. Contrived. Disingenuous. Phony. Inauthentic.

When this current generation of students hear new pieces of information, especially for the media who portray “hype” and “Reality-TV-celebrities” on a regular basis, they quickly make an inherent judgment call as it being “REAL” or “FAKE” and if they perceive the lesson as “FAKE,” reject it outright.
We teachers need gear our lesson plans and student understanding to memorable events that engage our students in inherently personal ways.

According to Gilmore and Pine, there are 5 main types of Authenticity:

  • Natural Authenticity: Centered on sustaining the environment and experiences outside; not enclosed in advertisements and packaging.
  • Original Authenticity: Difficult to attain because the appeal is being the first of its kind; noting previous conventions and how they were obliterated by this new ideal; how all followers or “copies” are less valuable.
  • Exceptional Authenticity: Make each person feel exist/matter; personal caring gestures/notes/body language; if you treat people exceptionally on the front end, you get an exceptional return on the back end.
  • Referential Authenticity: Power of connecting people, places, or events already perceived as real; historical moments of time; iconic ideas of human thought; the theme is unstated and you learn by experiencing it.
  • Influential Authenticity: Appeal to benefiting a greater good; just donating money is not trusted; you want to actively participate in a cause.

So how do you teach lessons that have your students engaged and not rejecting your lessons as boring? … STEM:

STEM S is for Science
Backup anything your students may doubt with facts.
Instead of students calling something fake outright, give them opportunities to try prove you wrong by investigating and comparing what exists.
If you are right, have them communicate how they proved it.
If you are wrong, have them communicate how they proved it.

STEM T is for Technology
Surveys and sharing are powerful now thanks to technology.
Instead of reacting to smartphones and tablets as a nuisance, create lessons that involve apps that engage students to participate and share with the group.
This would be an excellent opportunity to involve library media specialists on conducting factual searches online.

STEM E is for Engineering (also Computer Science as the foundation of STEM)
Making things or digital creations on computers.
Controlling the constantly changing technology around you.
Giving your students an opportunity to modify a product so there is an opportunity for customization and creativity to occur.

STEM M is for Math
Applied math on computers is more powerful than paper math.
The creators of WolframAlpha, Mathematician Conrad Wolfram created an excellent TED Talk in 2010 called “Conrad Wolfram: Teaching kids real math with computers” where he states that real adults in the workforce never use paper to solve problems in the workforce and all calculations are not trusted unless calculated with computers.

There is also a movement for STEAM A is for Art which is an opportunity for students to customize their learning to make them meaningful and therefore valuable for themselves

  • You can BUILD the EXPERIENCE.
  • You can SHARE your CREATIONS.
  • You can have students EXCITED about LEARNING on an INHERENT LEVEL.

You do not have to do all of the work as a teacher.
Students have been practicing Authenticity all along, but they have just called things boring and meaningless and “FAKE,” ignoring it outright.
Challenge your students to take the next step and tap into STEM to be successful.
Once they have done the work to prove something true or false, have them communicate their ideas with the group.
Being REAL does not mean forcing your ideas on someone else (that would be hype), but communicating with others how facts were investigated and their findings makes these individuals memorable and therefore powerful citizens in our 21st Century.

Feb 15

Forensic Computer Science (or Computer Forensics) looks at digital information like other forensic investigations “with the aim of identifying, preserving, recovering, analyzing and presenting facts and opinions about the information

“Forensic Computer Science and Hacking are basically the SAME, except when you discuss the question of Custody.”
– Michael Ruiz, VCU

Digital information is literally, virtually nothing… Binary switches of electrical pulses. It’s because these patterns have copies and backups everywhere, anything you post online will remain.

“Remember the old saying what happens in Vegas stays on Twitter forever.” -R. Rushton Paul Jr.

Even if you delete? That’s where Forensic Computer Science comes into play to produce the information, whether you agree, or not. On Wednesday, February 15, 2012 leaders in the Forensic Computer Science Industry from the Richmond, VA area gathered together to discuss some of the industry’s latest trends at Tuffy Stone’s Q Barbeque Glen Allen, VA restaurant from TLC’s ‘BBQ Pitmasters’ Cool Smoke team.

Update: On Tuesday, February 28, 2012 leaders in the Forensic Computer Science Industry from the Richmond, VA area gathered together to discuss some of the industry’s latest trends at Tuffy Stone’s Q Barbeque Glen Allen, VA for Phase II.

Phase TWO of the Computer Forensic Science Session at the Q.