Episode 198 – What’s on TV?

Tony and Patrick have a short but sweet episode this week. Be sure to subscribe to us with your favorite podcasting app and check out the talking points below!

  1. What’s on TV?
  2. What am I drinking?
    1. Kirin Ichiban – http://www.kirinichiban.com/ 
  3. Laptop recommendations – Don’t completely trust a blog
    1. https://itbabble.com/2021/12/03/laptop-recommendations-check-with-your-school-not-a-blog/
  4. Notion.so – A review
    1. https://itbabble.com/2021/12/01/notion-so-a-review/
  5. Finding a STEM and Robotics teacher
    1. Where do these people hangout online (professionally)?
    2. 4 sections
      1. STEM
      2. Robotics
      3. Topic 3?
      4. Topic 4?
    3. Make it its own department

You can download the episode here

Cubit Robotics: Probably Better Than What You Are Doing


By Tony DePrato | Follow Me on LinkedIn

I have been working with robotics since 2005. I have worked with students from US Grade 4 to students competing in university competitions.

As of late, I have been shocked by this trend: remote control.


Remote control is not the future. The future is autonomous and AI-driven. So why are schools teaching robotics via remote control at all levels with very little autonomous programming?

The software that was once easy to access, often free, and allowed for fairly deep programming has reverted to big graphical blocks.

This is why I am very excited about Cubit Robotics/Electronics for STEM.

I asked Cubit for a sample kit, and they sent it along. My robot frame and build were simple because I wanted to focus on programming.


The Cubit was loaded with sensor options, and the programming interface was Bluetooth.

For the record, I was using a Macbook, and I was very happy to get back into a programming environment that empowered real coding on an Apple. As of late, most of the robotics packages I have used on an Apple have removed the text-based coding options.

The flexibility was nice, and the educational scaffolding was clear.

You can start with the colorful blocks, and easily get things working.

Screen Shot 2020-01-16 at 7.44.43 AM

Then, you can get into the code, and make things work the way you want.

Screen Shot 2020-01-16 at 7.45.03 AM

Cubit uses Lua language. I found it to be an excellent primer for going in a variety of programming directions. I have always found that using robotics and electronics as a prerequisite for IB or AP computer science is a better primer than simply having an introductory course based solely in a language. Let’s be honest, robots are fun, and they can really help build the programming competency base.

If you are new to robotics and have no idea where to get started, Cubit is an excellent solution. Cubit provides a built-in curriculum with projects ranging from elementary to high school. The programming environment guides users through the initial steps.

Screen Shot 2020-01-16 at 8.10.41 AM

Robotic’s education needs to move away from the obsession with remote control. I believe this obsession emerged from the ubiquity of mobile devices, and the realization that automation is usually a low scoring and frustrating endeavor. When students can use a remote control, they can get more points and do more in less time.

The process, stress, and failure should be the goal when using robotics for K-12 education. If a student can understand the complexities of automation before they leave high school, then they are better prepared for the AI-driven future and their place within it.

It is small, affordable, and easy to build, but Cubit is a step towards authentic learning and forward-thinking.

AI Research

  1. https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/artificial-intelligence-ai-market
  2. https://www.pwc.com/us/en/services/consulting/library/artificial-intelligence-predictions-2019.html
  3. https://apnews.com/Business%20Wire/df8bdcfa4de84f6aa301d3683c2e1b55
  4. https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/br/Documents/technology/DI_TechTrends2019.pdf

Podcast episode 63 – April 25, 2013 – We can’t read that


Armed only with Tony and Preston we were able to pull off another epic podcast this week. We talk about the illusion of privacy on the Internet, electronic exams and much more. Check out the agenda below.

  1. Welcome back Preston
  2. Why do educational organizations shy away from electronic final exams (or cornerstone assessments)?
    1. What’s the problem bro?
    2. What would it look like ideally?
    3. Will this happen? If so when?
  3. David Allen Explains Why Methods Matter More by Alan Henry of Lifehacker
    1. Author of Getting Things Done
    2. He talks about you need to be consistent and keep using it.
    3. Everything should go into your GTD system
  4. I can’t find the piece
    1. How Tony forces students to think laterally and creatively
  5. The Most Deranged Soroity Girl Email You Will Ever Read – by Caity Weaver from Gawker
    1. Lessons from the sorority-girl e-mail rant by Doug Gross CNN
    2. What should happen to this girl
    3. She was wrong to send this but where her sisters wrong to leak it?
    4. What will happen to the person who leaked this?
    5. Michael Shannon reading the email (DEFINITELY NSFW)
  6. Preston’s Dream has come true..and Omar is also excited….
    1. http://mashable.com/2013/04/23/pizza-hut-xbox/

As always subscribe to us on iTunes or find us on PodOmatic.

You can always listen to this week’s episode right here.

I can’t find the piece!

For a while I have been working on a book that centers around teaching robotics. One of the most import things about robotics is the “eureka moment”, when all of the frustration results in a solution.

Today, something devious and educational occurred to me. What if I found one of the most significant parts needed for a build, and removed that part from all the part bins?

So, I did. I took a part that everyone needed, and was already in short supply. Some of the kits were not exactly the same, so a few students did not have the part to begin with. The part would only then be available in the extra parts bins. I just went through the bins, and took the part out as I found it.

As usual, when reality hit, the students were going crazy. “Where is this part?”, “I cannot build without it!”, etc.  I kept saying, “Sorry. We ran out you need to improvise.”

The class dragged-on for 15-20 minutes. It seemed longer for some reason. The whole time the part was hidden in plain sight, I felt a bit guilty, but held my ground. Then all of a sudden a group of 4 girls said, “Hey look. We improvised.” All four smiling, and showing everyone they had found another way to build without the part.

Then from the cabinet, I produce two other solutions that also would work. Some students migrated up to the front to study the design, but found walking back and forth to study it tiresome. I would not let them take the robot samples off the table.

A few moments later another team sorted out a solution. At that moment, I uploaded 3 photos to Edmodo from my phone using the Edmodo App(great feature BTW). These photos showed two methods for solving the problem by simply displaying the parts, not the process.

I had six groups of students. Two had made a completely unique solution. Three were able to study the parts I sent, to make what they needed. One needed the actual parts, so I handed them over.

I always add stress to robotics, and some type of problem that is built into the core objective. Sometimes I limit the number of parts that can be used. Other times I set a building time, then after that, hands-off. There are many things you can do to create scenarios that require innovative problem solving.

Stealing pieces from the bins and hiding them, maybe not new, but new for me. It will continue, and it is going in the book.

Stress. Teamwork. Communication. Problem Solving. Confidence Building. Differentiation. Not bad for a Grade 5 class. This is why I love robotics, and think it can deliver more in a lesson, than almost any other type of class.

Tony DePrato