We are planning to use Lego Mindstorms robots with RobotC (a version of C that can be used to program robots) for our N4 and N5 courses. However looking at the N4 Added Value Unit and the N5 Assessment Task (Music fans) that came out the other day it would seem that it would be nearly impossible to do these two tasks with this language and hardware. I spoke to Dave Main from the SQA this morning and asked him about this and he said that there are a couple more tasks coming out in August and one of them might suit.
Having spent a bit more time today looking at this I thought I would see if the “Unit assessment support” materials for Software Design and Development would give me any hope as this is new out and there are a couple of programming tasks in there. However these two tasks follow the same vein and are are fairly traditional programs that ask users to input data (presumably from the keyboard) and then it processes said data and outputs something. I do not see a way that this can be implemented with Lego Mindstorms.
I find this rather frustrating as we are trying to make programming more interesting and relevant for our pupils yet it would seem that the SQA have hamstrung this. I spent time a few months back looking at the literature that had come from the SQA to see if Lego Mindstorms with RobotC would fulfil the requirements that were out at that stage and it seemed that it would. However since we have to do the assessment task that we are given there is no way as far as I can see it that this would work for us.
I am just wondering if anyone has any insight or thoughts on this? We have already had investment in going down the Lego Mindstorms route and it would be a pain and difficult to change at this stage.