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  • Kudos to FTC on blocks

    I started FTC 3 years ago the same year they brought in Android. It was absolutely maddening. The MR controls were not ready for prime time. There were constant connection issues and simple 5 minute tests would turn into hours of troubleshooting connection issues. Last year the MR software update made things a lot better, but android studio and the introduction of Vuforia also made it very difficult for mentors and coaches to stay ahead of the kids to teach them. This year we have 2 teams, one of which is 6th grade (The other 7th 8th), and I have to say you have nailed it with blocks. It's a nice transition from FLL to Java programming and it can be used on a chromebook which most schools are going to. You guys did a great job.

    I do have on question. Since the robot controller is a server, only one kid at a time can work on the program. Is there a site where the other kids can go to get the full blocks tool box, to follow along with tutorials, even if they are not the one with control of the robot?

  • #2
    It is possible for more than one person to be attached to the phone for programming, but I don't know if there is a practical limit set by the server.

    However, it might get very confusing.

    You would definitely want each kid to be working on a different file/opmode.
    Having multiple kids working on the same file would cause mass confusion each time one of them refreshed their screen and got a fresh copy.

    However, if they all had different files, they would not clash.

    What would probably still get confusing would be that when you hit the "Build Everything" button, that's what it tries to do.
    So if other students have opmodes with errors, then the build process will generate many errors.

    The Tech Team is considering other ways whereby classrooms could use Blocks for offline testing.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by ejschuh View Post
      I started FTC 3 years ago the same year they brought in Android. It was absolutely maddening. The MR controls were not ready for prime time. There were constant connection issues and simple 5 minute tests would turn into hours of troubleshooting connection issues. Last year the MR software update made things a lot better, but android studio and the introduction of Vuforia also made it very difficult for mentors and coaches to stay ahead of the kids to teach them. This year we have 2 teams, one of which is 6th grade (The other 7th 8th), and I have to say you have nailed it with blocks. It's a nice transition from FLL to Java programming and it can be used on a chromebook which most schools are going to. You guys did a great job.

      I do have on question. Since the robot controller is a server, only one kid at a time can work on the program. Is there a site where the other kids can go to get the full blocks tool box, to follow along with tutorials, even if they are not the one with control of the robot?
      ejschuh,

      multiple users can work off a single controller, so as long as the kids coordinate amongst themselves to not generate conflict op mode names (maybe use their initials to prefix their op mode names) they can program on the same phone at the same time using different laptops/chromebooks/etc..

      we do not yet have a full blocks toolbox or simulator that would let teams program independently without the Robot Controller, but it's something that we are looking at possibly for the future.

      Tom

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Philbot View Post
        What would probably still get confusing would be that when you hit the "Build Everything" button, that's what it tries to do.
        So if other students have opmodes with errors, then the build process will generate many errors.
        Blocks doesn't have a "Build Everything" button, so multiple people simultaneously programming separated blocks opmodes will work just fine.

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