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The BT Co-Space Event (11/10/2013)

The day started of pretty early, as we needed to be at school for 5:30am. We had to arrive near Ipswich by 9:30am and the journey would take about 3.5 hours.

The children seemed quite excited even though it was early. The journey there wasn’t too bad, with a short stop at services.

We arrived at BT’s Global Research and Development Headquarter’s in Adastral Park at about 9:40am. Montgomery Primary Academy’s staff and pupils were offered a bit of breakfast once in there.

Looking around there seemed to be quite a lot of other schools already there, all set up and ready.

After a quick coffee, Mr. Matharu (Network Manager) and I set up the laptops. Everyone was called to the front seating area for a presentation and a short speech. Near the end of the presentation they explained the first step of how to use the CBot software.

It was a basic start, just getting the robot on the screen to move forward. It didn’t take long for pupils to start getting confused by the software and its interface, which meant Mr. Matharu and I were kept busy helping who we could. I had played around with the software a little but I didn’t know much about it, so in most cases I learned how to use it whilst showing the children how it worked.

Once they had figured out the first part we were called back to the front to find out what the next step would be. This time it was about turning the robot, so yet again, all the children went back to their laptops and started practicing. I was helping anyone who was stuck or unsure and every now and then quickly grabbing a coffee when I had a spare moment.

They called us to the front a few more times to receive information on what to do, like detecting walls, picking up blocks, avoiding traps etc. Most of the pupils were able to get all of these actions working, with a little help from Mr. Matharu and I.

After a quick lunch break we came to the final event, where all the pupils tested their robots against each others to see who had managed to program the best.

Unfortunately there were a few teething problems with some of our robots, never the less, we won a fair few matches. However, none of our teams quite managed to come in the top 4, but the pupils still had fun.

There was a quick match between the top 4 teams for both primary schools and secondary schools. Once they had finished it was a quick goodbye from the BT reps then back on the coach for another 3.5 hours back.

Apart from the lengthy amount of time spent sat on a coach it was a fun and enjoyable day, for everyone and I look forward to going again next year.

- Mr. Southall (ICT Apprentice)