Which German universities offer robot courses?

Summer Academy : A robot is not magic

The Lego Mindstorms robot, assembled from Lego bricks, does not look like a robot. With its four wheels, it is reminiscent of a small car with yellow grippers on the front axle. Eleven-year-old Miria doesn't care about looks. At the FiNCA holiday meeting of the Institute for Computer Science at Humboldt University on the Adlershof campus, she learns how to program a robot.

Meryem Can, computer science student and course instructor, provides assistance: “First we have to open the software for programming on the PC.” This is followed by a short advertising film about the robots developed by the Fraunhofer Institute, which children from fifth to tenth grade use to meet the so-called MINT subjects - math, computer science, natural sciences and technology - are introduced. Then it can start: "There are commands such as driving forwards or backwards and turning left or right," explains the 24-year-old course instructor. “You can also adjust the motor output or compose music for the robot.” Miria named her robot Anna, after her little sister. And the robot Anna has a lot to learn. "The most common problem is that children and parents find it difficult to imagine that the pc thinks differently than the human being," says Can. The robot must be told step by step what to do when an obstacle is in front of it. Namely: drive backwards and turn. Miria's father used to study computer science himself at the Adlershof campus and came across the robots at the Long Night of Science in May. So that his two children can get a taste of the MINT subjects, he has booked a one-day robot family course for the summer holidays. "The robot courses are always well attended," says Sandra Schulz, who is studying computer science and sport to become a teacher. She has been working at FiNCA-Ferientreff (women in the natural sciences on the Adlershof campus) for two years. "Here I have direct contact with the children, which is important for my later career." The focus is on the family aspect, says Schulz: "Parents and children should work together." Some parents are surprised at how tech-savvy their children are. “Otherwise, the goal is to make the families understand that computer science is not magic.” A computer scientist is clichéd as a lonely brooder without social contacts, who crouches in the dark little room in front of his PC. “It's not exactly like that. Programming is fun and it's not as difficult as many imagine, "says the 24-year-old.

The Ferientreff offers the courses in cooperation with the non-profit organization Offensiv'91 e.V. for girls and boys: "Of course we want to ensure that many girls come to the courses. But boys are also very welcome, ”says Dr. Márta Gutsche, coordinator of the project. “We also offer a soldering course and a family photo course. A robot course is even held in German sign language. “The FiNCA holiday meeting has been around for five years. Between 250 and 280 children and adults register for the holiday courses each year.

A mother saw the robots at the Long Night of Science: "The children wanted to try out the robots, but it was so full that evening that we thought about attending a course." In addition to her daughter, the mother also has a friend signed up with her son. Lisa, 10, and Anton, 9, quickly got to grips with their own robot, which can now even dance. The two mothers started their own programming experiment. "I think it's really impressive how quickly the children learn," says Anton's mother. “My brother is a computer scientist and he and Anton are saving up to buy a robot for their home.” Around 360 euros have to be collected for this. The high school that the fourth grader will attend after the summer vacation also offers a robot group. Anton himself is very enthusiastic about the course and is already working on the next task together with Lisa: the robot should use a light sensor to differentiate between light and dark colors and drive in a circle on a black line.

There are still places available for the family robot course on Thursday, July 31st and on Friday, August 1st, from 10 am to 3 pm. This course is also offered in German sign language. Registration via www.adlershof.hu-berlin.de/einrichtungen/finca/finca-klub/schuelerinnen

To home page