Author: John Burfoot

The Case for Drones in Schools

Drones have recently taken the world by storm. So much so that in their 2015 K-12 Horizon Report, The New Media Consortium has earmarked drones as a significant emerging consumer technology over the next five years. Drones are actually Unmanned Systems or Autonomous Vehicles that include robots which can be operated on land, under water and in the air. A significant ground swell of accessible robot technology began in Australian schools in early 2000, with the launch of LEGO’s RCX programmable brick. Over the last 10 years we have seen the LEGO group develop its suite of educational robotics...

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Rural Robotics Dance Camp at Bribbaree Primary School

MacICT visited a small rural school in Bribbaree during Term 3 of this year to conduct a robotics dance camp with select students from several neighbouring schools. A class set of LEGO Mindstorms EV3 robots were supplied and accompanied John Burfoot, MacICT’s lead robotics facilitator, on his four-day round trip to Bribbaree. John designed the two-day workshop with Bribbaree PS Principal, Craig McMahon. Craig is passionate about STEM and STEAM activities that are engaging and help foster 21st Century skills of Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking and Creativity, especially for students in remote areas who might otherwise not receive the...

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MacICT develop LEGO prototype for ANSTO

MacICT has developed a LEGO® MINDSTORMS® Education EV3 robot to simulate the operation of one of the high-tech instruments used by the Bragg Institute at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO). MacICT’s lead robotics facilitator, John Burfoot, was given the exciting task to design, build and program a LEGO model that could simulate the operation of ANSTO’s TAIPAN – a triple axis spectrometer, used as a neutron scattering instrument. The TAIPAN, along with other similar instruments, is located near the small nuclear reactor within the ANSTO facility at Lucas Heights, Sydney. It is situated alongside the reactor,...

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Leading and learning at the 2015 LEGO Education/Tufts CEEO Conference, California

MacICT’s lead robotics facilitator, John Burfoot, was invited to attend the LEGO Education Elementary Conference and also present at the LEGO Education Engineering Conference in San Diego, last month. The two events were sponsored by LEGO Education and the Tufts Center for Engineering Education and Outreach (Tufts CEEO), Boston. Elementary, Middle and High School teachers from Southern California attended the two events, which were hosted by High Tech High, Chula Vista – an innovative and progressive K-12 school located near the California/Mexico border. Prior to the actual conference, John collaborated with a small group of other robotics educators from...

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Partnering with Bridges to Higher Education: Using LEGO robots to widen youth participation into tertiary education

Based within Macquarie University’s Widening Participation Team, Bridges to Higher Education have implemented numerous school programs and support material to help raise vocational awareness as well as engage and motivate students to consider and desire a tertiary education after leaving school. Thanks to Commonwealth funding gained in 2011 under the Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program, the Bridges to Higher Education initiative is the result of an unprecedented partnership with five NSW Universities, including University of Sydney, University of Western Sydney, University of Technology Sydney, Australian Catholic University, and Macquarie University. Bridges to Higher Education have also been partnering...

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LEGO WeDo Robotics

Imagine a world where your LEGO creations can come alive! Teachers, imagine this happening in an engaging, collaborative, safe and easy to manage environment – even with students from Kindergarten to Year 3! Sounds too good to be true? Well, now you can with LEGO WeDo. LEGO WeDo is a robotics hardware and software platform specifically designed for K -2 students (Early Stage 1 to Stage 1). As with other LEGO Education products it follows the 4 C’s process – Connect to a story, Construct a model, Contemplate its function, and Continue improving its design. There are multiple ways...

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PLEASE NOTE: MacICT was closed in 2016. This website remains as a record of the research conducted and courses run during its operation.