This paper reviews the problematic history of Logo and Turtle robots in France. However, Daniel Jacquet and colleagues at the CNFEI (Centre National d’études et de Formation pour l’Enfance Inadaptée) decided to evaluate Roamer as a tool for use in special education. This White Paper presents their findings. (more…)
Teachers and educators quickly took the opportunity to explore what Turtle robots had to offer Special Education Needs (SEN). The same happened with Roamer. Within a few months of the Classic Roamer’s launch, Valiant got reports of SEN applications for their new robot. It seems obvious that technology has a lot to offer. Yet, teachers had to adapt mainstream technology to meet student’s needs. The diversity of special needs presented a challenging design problem. Valiant Technology took the first step in resolving this issue with SERP (Special Educational Robot Project). They sponsored several practising special education teachers working for their master’s degrees to evaluate the Roamer as a SEN asset. Their brief: review the Classic Roamer as a SEN Teaching Aid and report on how to make it better suited for the task. Running the course at Canterbury Christ Church College, Mike Blamires, was familiar with both Turtle and Roamer robots oversaw the production of these reports. Because of this work, Valiant launched the SEROTA project which led to them to develop the current Roamer. This robot forms the basis of a SEN solution.
In the mid to late 1960s computers were starting to become available. These were in the form of a Programmed Data Processor or PDP made by the Digital Equipment Corporation or DEC. Computer languages were being developed. It was in these circumstance that Seymour Papert invented Logo – a computer language designed for children. The idea for this child friendly language arose during a blue sky development project undertaken by Bolt, Beranek and Newman (BBN) Technologies for the USA Navy. The project was aimed at finding ways computers could be used to train navy personnel. Wally Feurzeig who led the project did deal with the Navy’s programme manager Glen Bryan. When approached about the idea of spending Navy cash in this way Bryan suggested that it would be ok to work with what he called “Military Brats”. So in 1967 a project was started at the Hanscom School on the Hanscom Air Force Base in Lincoln, MA. The final report for this project was sent to the Navy in March 1969 and was written by Feurzeig and Papert. The relevant part of the report is attached to this post as a pdf.