Open Roberta - a Web Based Approach to Visually Program Real Educational Robots
Educational robots have become an often asked educational tool for a hands-on introduction to modern information and communication technology. The ""Roberta - Learning with Robots"" initiative aims to engage and motivate girls and boys to take a sustained long-term interest in information technology and natural sciences since the project inception in 2002. With more than 35.000 children and young people in over 600 documented Roberta courses a year - Roberta has become a permanent fixture in the German education landscape and the pedagogical concept, created books, course material and additional tools are being used successfully in other European countries. However, programming educational robots and maintaining complex computer hardware is still a hassle for teachers in the classrooms - as frequently reported from student participants and Roberta network teachers. A main goal of the presented successor initiative Open Roberta is to overcome technical challenges by providing an open, fully web based programming environment for teachers and students alike that can be used directly in the web browser at home or in the classroom. The presented software - the Open Roberta Lab consists of visual programming tools for the development and connection of real educational robots without long-winded system installations, preparation tasks or technology getting in the way. A further technical aspect of the paper is the introduction of the NEPO® meta programming language as an essential part of the Open Roberta Lab.