Glossary

Words Used with Educational Robots

This glossary explains terms used throughout Roamer’s websites.  You can explore the dictionary or discover the terms highlighted in the text.  Put your mouse on the words and the definition will pop up. Make sure you’ve enabled popups on your computer.

  • API

    An “Application-Programming Interface” (API) is a piece of code that helps pieces of software work together.  Any software or technology like a mobile phone wanting to talk with Roamer will use the robot’s API.
  • Argument

    In computer science (and mathematics) an argument (also known as a parameter) is the data entered into an instruction.
    http://using.roamer-educational-robot.com/files/2017/02/FD.png 5 In this Roamer instruction 5 is the argument.
  • Argument

    You will find the terms parameter, argument and variable often used in computing, mathematics and science. Their exact meaning depends on the context. Computer scientists use "parameter" to mean something you can add or alter within a command.

    http://using.roamer-educational-robot.com/files/2017/02/FD.png Number [1 to 100] We call Number [1 to 100] a parameter.
    http://using.roamer-educational-robot.com/files/2017/02/FD.png 6 We call the 6 an argument.

    We use the word variable as a general term. The Roamer Music command has two variables: the duration of the note and the pitch. Number to 8 is the duration parameter and Number 1 to 14 is the pitch parameter. In Music 4 11: 4 and 11 are arguments.

  • Assessment for Learning

    Assessment for Learning (AfL) is a continuous formative assessment approach to teaching and learning.  It helps you engage your students and make sure they get the most out of your lesson.  AfL gives you tools which help you and your student improve their understanding  and learning.  It's the best way of using Roamer.
  • Blocks

    In Scratch and ScratchX blocks make up scripts, which make a project work.  Effectively these are instructions or commands.
  • Brian Silverman

    Brian Silverman is a Canadian computer scientist, the creator of many programming environments for children.  Brian was a student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the 1970s and worked with Seymour Papert to create Logo products like LogoWriter for LCSI.  Brian also worked co-founder of Scratch software.
  • Command

    Another word for an instruction that a Roamer or a computer can understand.  An example of a Roamer command is Forward 3.
  • Compiled Language

    A compiled language is a programming language which turns the code into machine code before running the program.  See interpretated languages and scripting languages.
  • Control

    Control is a general term which applies to the design of automated machinery.  The video shows a few examples of control engineering in action.  A robot is one example of control technology.  A key part of control is the need to use inputs to sense what’s going on and outputs to do something.  For example a burglar alarm will sense an intruder and respond by making a loud noise.

    The Power of Computers from Dave Catlin on Vimeo.
  • Default

    A default is the normal setting of a feature.  For example, when you first switch Roamer on it runs at 25 cm/sec.  That is Roamer’s default speed.  Roamer uses default settings at the start of a GO Program and when you switch the robot on.  Roamer’s voice is another default: how the robot behaves when it completes a sense-procedure is another.  You can change some of the defaults – see Advanced Roamer.

  • Effective Questioning

    Asking questions is a key teaching skill which helps you get the most out of Roamer.  Effective questioning is a set of methods which will improve your skill. See Effective Questioning
  • Execute

    in computer and software engineering is the process by which a computer or a virtual machine performs the instructions of a computer program. The instructions in the program trigger sequences of simple actions on the executing machine.
  • Execute

    To carry out - to do - an instruction or a program.  If we execute the Roamer program Forward 3 Right 90 by pressing GO the robot will move forward 3 and turn right 90.  It means the same as "run" a program.
  • hand-written code

    This refers to the suggested way to hand write Roamer code.  It's also recommended for quickly typing Roamer code on the computer.
    http://using.roamer-educational-robot.com/files/2017/08/MUSIC.png  d  This is the symbol key for the Roamer musical note.
    The User Guide provides a suggested symbols for each instruction and you can access font details and a symbols list in Using Roamer>Classroom Tips.
  • Note Value

    In music we call the duration a note the note value.
  • Ofsted

    Ofsted is the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills.  They inspect schools in England and publish the results online.  They're  a quango and report to the British Parliament.

  • Parameter

    You will find the terms parameter, argument and variable often used in computing, mathematics and science.  Their exact meaning depends on the context.  Computer scientists use "parameter" to mean something you can add or alter within a command.

    http://using.roamer-educational-robot.com/files/2017/02/FD.png Number [1  to 100] We call Number [1 to 100] a parameter.
    http://using.roamer-educational-robot.com/files/2017/02/FD.png 6 We call the 6 an argument.

    We use the word variable as a general term.  The Roamer Music command has two variables: the duration of the note and the pitch.  Number to 8 is the duration parameter and Number 1 to 14 is the pitch parameter.  In Music 4 11: 4 and 11 are arguments.

  • Playing Turtle

    A child plays Turtle when they imagine themselves to be the robot.  When they move and turn like the robot they think about what they’ve got to do to make the robot to achieve a task.  It makes the Roamer an object to think with and connects students to powerful mathematical ideas.

    Tim Bell and his team from Canterbury University in New Zealand launched Computer Science Unplugged.  This is an extension of Papert's Playing Turtle idea.  It's a "... collection of free learning activities that teach Computer Science through engaging games and puzzles that use cards, string, crayons and lots of running around. We originally developed this so that young students could dive head-first into Computer Science, experiencing the kinds of questions and challenges that computer scientists experience, but without having to learn programming first." [nwsymbol] Computer Science Unplugged.
  • Port

    We call a connection that manages data flow between a computer and an external gadget a port.  Some ports, like USB Ports, can also provide power.
  • Roamer Character

    We joyfully remember a favourite toy or comfort blanket.  When focused on Roamer this bond plays an important role in developing students imagination and cognitive skills.  Students reinforce this bond when they create a personalised Roamer Character.

  • sbx

    An sbx is a file format used by ScratchX projects.  If you save a Roamer ScratchX project which may contain backgrounds, sprites and scripts it will be saved as an sbx file.  If you make it available to other users they can develop their projects by remixing your work.
  • Scaffold

    In education, a scaffold is the support we give to a student to help them solve hard problems.  As a student progresses we remove the scaffolding and eventually the student can solve the full problem without difficulty.  When we teach children to swim we don’t simply throw them into the deep-end of the pool and let them get on with it.  We provide them flotation aids and spend time in the water with them, helping as needed.  We gradually remove the support.  Scaffolding is the same idea applied to intellectual efforts.  Many Roamer tasks adopt this principle.

  • Scratch

    A free visual programming software package produced by MIT.

    Link: https://scratch.mit.edu/
  • ScratchX

    ScratchX or Scratch Extensions - extend Scratch and allow the software to link to external devices like Roamer.  See Roamer ScratchX.
  • Script

    A script is a program written in a scripting language. Scratch, ScratchX and Roamer programs are examples of scripting languages and their programs are examples of scripts.
  • Scripting Language

    A scripting language is a programming language environment that interprets and carries out each command one-at-a-time. You'll find scripting languages easier to learn and faster to code in than compiled languages.
  • Sprite

    In computer graphics, a sprite is an image which the program animates.  Early Logo software had both sprites and Turtles. In RoamerWorld we distinguish between sprites and Turtles.  A sprite exist on the computer screen and a Turtle is both a physical and screen robot.
  • Sprite

    A Sprite (computer) is a screen based animation.  In Logo Sprites and Turtles were different.  You program a Sprite to change shape.  Originally Turtles stayed the same.  LogoWriter and RoamerWorld allowed you to program changes to virtual Turtles.   Virtual Turtles have a robot counterpart like Roamer.  Sprites do not. http://using.roamer-educational-robot.com/files/2017/06/Sprite-Animation.jpg
  • Standard Roamers

    Standard Roamers are the basic robots with a choice of 4 age related keypads.  See "Types of Roamer".
  • Success Criteria

    Most Roamer tasks don’t have simple right and wrong answers.  So how do students know they’ve achieved success?  Getting them to clarify what they want to achieve is another part of “Assessment for Learning” method.

    See Success Criteria

  • Ted Wragg

    Ted Wragg was a British educationalist and academic known for his advocacy of the cause of education and opposition to political interference in the field. He was Professor of Education at the University of Exeter from 1978 to 2003, serving as Emeritus Professor of Education from 2003 till his death, and a regular columnist in the Times Educational Supplement and The Guardian.  More...
  • Turtle

    A Turtle is an educational robot originally created as part of the Logo programming language.  Originally the Turtle was a physical robot controlled using Turtle Graphics (a part of the Logo language).  With advances in screen graphics, a virtual Turtle became prevalent.  Originally, the Turtle and a Sprite were different.  LogoWriter and RoamerWorld blurred the distinction by allowing programmers to change the shape of the virtual Turtle.  We keep the distinction.

    http://using.roamer-educational-robot.com/files/2017/06/Early-Turtle.png http://using.roamer-educational-robot.com/files/2017/04/Turtle-Robot.jpg
  • Variable

    You will find the terms parameter, argument and variable often used in computing, mathematics and science. Their exact meaning depends on the context. Computer scientists use "parameter" to mean something you can add or alter within a command.

    http://using.roamer-educational-robot.com/files/2017/02/FD.png Number [1 to 100] We call Number [1 to 100] a parameter.
    http://using.roamer-educational-robot.com/files/2017/02/FD.png 6 We call the 6 an argument.

    We use the word variable as a general term. The Roamer Music command has two variables: the duration of the note and the pitch. Number to 8 is the duration parameter and Number 1 to 14 is the pitch parameter. In Music 4 11: 4 and 11 are arguments.

  • Yardstick

    Originally a yardstick was a rod one-yard-long.  You'd use yardsticks to find out how long other items were.  People started to use the term to mean any standard they use judging similar items.  Children use the Roamer to picture how many steps they must make their robot move to hit a target.  This develops their estimation skills.