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NAO Cadet

Background

In past few years there have been many revolutions in STEM teaching, but two, in particular, stand out.

Firstly the NAO robot, which commenced development in 2004, has become a modern tech classic. Its personable character and the sophistication of its programming platform has seen it win many devotees. From intermediate to advanced developers who want to hone their coding craft, to helping autistic children to master reading in a non-judgmental way. The NAO keeps kids and adults alike enthralled with its endearing ability to engage through dance, storytelling, and interactive learning whether in the school, the library, the lab or at home.

The second revolution is Scratch. Scratch is a visual, block-based programming language which has made the ability to program and code more accessible than ever. The colourful, graphical nature of the platform is designed specifically with the 8 to 16 age group in mind, and is a hugely effective in school and library code clubs, teaching computational thinking through easy creation of animations, games and stories. In reality, it’s sheer simplicity has seen it used by all ages, including seniors, to begin the coding journey.

So what would happen if you brought these two revolutions together?

State Library of Queensland has done just that with the creation of NAO Cadet.

What is NAO Cadet?

NAO Cadet is an app, which, for the first time, enables the NAO to be programmed via block based programming, similar to Scratch.

The wide-ranging and complex abilities of the NAO are partly made possible by the complex programming software that comes with it. But this complexity has, in the past, been a barrier to less experienced users engaging with the NAO. NAO Cadet addresses this effectively by translating complex programming language into simple block-based ‘strings’.

Want to make the NAO walk and talk? Just tap and drag the right blocks onto your programming screen, run the program, and NAO is at your command.

If you want to get more adventurous as you get more confident in your abilities, NAO Cadet offers options to dive into Logic programming, to include voice and audio recording into your programs, to explore data variables, timers and code threads. NAO Cadet grows with you until you are ready to move to a more advanced, text-based programming environment.

Value adding

The best part is that NAO Cadet is free, being available for your tablet via the Google Play and Apple App stores. And in the best sharing tradition of Scratch, NAO Cadet scripts can also be shared, discussed and developed by like-minded people on the NAO Cadet community portal, www.naocadet.com. You can also participate in discussion forums and learn using the Wiki pages to share ideas and think outside the box.

NAO Cadet is licensed under the GNU General Public License 3, which allows organisations to continually improve the application with new ideologies and technologies into the future.

Resources

Video Tutorials

NAO Cadet Tutorial 1: Getting Started

Video Length: 00:05:06

NAO Cadet Tutorial 2: Your first script

Video Length: 00:04:31

Last updated
4th September 2018