Online competition attracts youth to robotics

Online competition attracts youth to robotics

Students from six high schools across Vietnam put their robot programming skills to the test at the recent Online Robotics Competition organised by RMIT University’s Centre of Digital Excellence (CODE).

Programming robots to navigate traffic in smart cities, serve customers in an automated restaurant, or transport goods in a smart cities supply chain were the challenges that the 2H2K team from Phuoc Long High School (Thu Duc City) successfully conquered to win first place in the recent Online Robotics Competition held by RMIT University’s Centre of Digital Excellence (CODE).

Equipped with a personal computer with video conference function and a stable Internet connection at home, students could control robots located at RMIT University remotely and in real time. During each one-hour challenge, the competing teams could practice drag-and-drop programming using modern software, and learn geometry and physics principles in order to control all robot movements as per the challenge.

news-1-news-thumbnail-online-competition-attracts-youngsters-to-robotics-01 The Online Robotics Competition was streamed live on the Facebook page of RMIT CODE4Schools.

The members of the winning team 2H2K explained how their school’s information technology teacher suggested that they entered the RMIT CODE competition, and – as young people who share a passion for technology – they decided to give it a try.

2H2K team member Nguyen Nam Hoang said: “I signed up immediately after my teacher talked to me about the competition. It’s hard for me to access actual robots. Trying to figure out by myself how robots work is even harder. Though this wasn’t the first programming competition I’ve joined, it was the first where I could truly practice my knowledge of programming and see how the robots are controlled online."

Fellow team member Hoang Minh Khue added: “This competition gave me a chance to improve my thinking and agility, as well as work better in teams to come up with the best strategies to succeed in a contest. These are very important and useful things that can help me in future competitions.”

Debuting this year, the competition attracted eight teams from six high schools in Binh Phuoc, Ca Mau, Phu Tho, Vinh Phuc, Ho Chi Minh City and Thu Duc City. The participating schools have all previously participated in the Remote Learning Lab – an initiative started by CODE in 2019 to provide free robotics classes and practice sessions for high school students. So far, CODE has organised more than 80 classes for 1,600 students at 36 high schools across Vietnam.

news-2-news-thumbnail-online-competition-attracts-youngsters-to-robotics In the final round, teams were challenged to program two types of robots, Sphero and mBot, to simulate a product supply chain in a Smart Cities environment.

Ms Chau Uyen Sa, a teacher at Duc Tri Middle and High School (Ho Chi Minh City) and the instructor for runner-up team DT-Quintet, commented that: “With the development of science, technology and artificial intelligence, teaching and learning programming not only contributes to the development of students' minds, but also opens up other paths to help the Generation Z integrate into the Fourth Industrial Revolution easily and effectively.”

She added: “The challenges in the competition were close to real-life situations and suited the skills of the participating students. In addition, the self-study time before the competition was a golden opportunity for the teams to get acquainted and explore any outstanding technical gaps, so that they could come up with better solutions when facing the actual challenges during the competition."

CODE Manager of Digital Outreach and Engagement and founder of the competition Huynh Thuc Yen said: “To our knowledge, no other initiative in Vietnam is currently engaging with high schools across the country, regardless of their locations, with such a fun and high-quality robot programming experience that is also completely online and free-of-charge.”

“CODE celebrated our fifth anniversary in 2021. My colleagues and I hope that over the next five, ten and twenty years, we will continue to accompany students nationwide to reach new heights in robotics and automation,” Ms Yen said.

Register to experience RMIT University’s CODE Remote Learning Lab for free:

news-3-news-thumbnail-online-competition-attracts-youngsters-to-robotics The First Prize of the RMIT Online Robotics Competition 2021 went to the 2H2K team consisting of four 12th-graders from Phuoc Long High School, Thu Duc City: Huynh Ngoc Hau, Nguyen Nam Hoang, Pham Hoang Minh Khoi, and Hoang Minh Khue (pictured: representatives from the top two teams and the organisers during the final round).

Story: Ngoc Hoang

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