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Control technology/robotics is a highly motivating and rewarding part of the curriculum for students.The ideal way to discover control technology is to build a model and then learn how to control it by experimenting, and this is quite possible in the context of after-school clubs with extra adults around to help the teacher. Unfortunately control technology is quite difficult to teach in the ‘whole class’ environment with normal levels of support and equipment.

Actor-lab was designed to be used by a teacher, working with a whole class, and having to rely on the children to help each other to a large extent. A set of problems with student manuals can be found in the downloads section, they have had two years of trials with year 5-7 students. The manuals are initially fairly directive, but become more open ended. It is probably best to use a system connected to an overhead projector in order to first introduce the key ideas to the whole class.

(An advice system which helps to identify common problems has been developed to aid peer-tuition, but is not yet ready for release.)