The last 18 months have been challenging for us all. We have experienced the way we approach learning in new ways. Now it is time we get back together in the classroom. In the practice room. And at the competition arenas.
While virtual learning works for many aspects of education, the hands-on approach of touching the robot can not be replaced. Just like someone in the trades, hands-on learning is a vital skill learned by doing. Through trial and error, the experience of learning transforms theory into reality.
2021-2022 Annual Challenge
We have been waiting to see how schools will be able to operate this year. For this reason the development of the Annual Challenge has been delayed. The RCX Program will be announcing the theme in late August. Supplies for the theme will be available in September.
In conversations with educators, it sounds like many robotics programs will be starting over. For this reason, I can share with you that the 2021-2022 Annual Challenge will help teams start over. Whether your team consists of completely new students to robotics, or students with experience, this year's theme is being designed to help educate the new student and reinforce the old student.
We are looking forward to getting back together with you all. We are planning to offer both a Virtual Tournament and in-person tournaments. Details for tournaments will be updated as soon as possible. For now plan on following your local district guidelines for team participation.
LEGO Mindstorm EV3
The RCX Program will continue to use the LEGO Mindstorm EV3.
LEGO has announced that the LEGO Mindstorm EV3 will be discontinued. LEGO historically has offered new versions of robots every 5 years or so. They will continue to sell the Mindstorm EV3 until inventory is gone. They also usually support the software for several years after the robot is discontinued. For further details, you will have to contact LEGO Education directly.
The LEGO SPIKE Prime is the latest robot to be offered. As with any new model, this robot offers new sensors, motors and other programming opportunites to use to learn. I have not worked with it much to give you my personal oppinion. One nice thing is this robot costs less than the EV3.
The RCX Program is here to help your students learn. Whether you use the Mindstorm NXT robot, Mindstorm EV3 robot, or the new SPIKE Prime robot with your students for the RCX Program Annual Challenge is up to you. The RCX Program will accept all three robots. All three robots provide your students the opportunity to "design, construct, and program" a robot. All three robots give your team the opportunity to experience robotics in a challenging hands-on, critical thinking way. Whether you use the RCX Program as a stepping stone for a career ready path in technology, or a tool to strengthen teamwork and communications skills, your students will have the opportunity to learn and grow for the careers of tomorrow through robotics .