Control Technology

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Technical paper
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Control technology



© Becta 2003

http://www.becta.org.uk/

page
1

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published April 2003
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Archived in April 2005


This document has been archived

Control Technology

Contents:

What is control technology?

Where are control systems used?

In sch
ools

What types of control systems are there?

Real or simulated?

What do you need?

A floor robot


£50

100

Logo


£0

100

A control interface


£60

260

Control software


£0

100

Models and sensors


£40

200

Electronics and construction kits


£5

300

What issues should I consider before buying?

General considerations

Considerations when purchasing floor robots

Considerations when purchasing Logo or turtle graphics

Considerations when purchasing a control interface

Considerations re control software

Considerations re sensors

Considerations re models

What are the implementation issues?

Other sources of information

Curriculum related


What is control technology?

We use many control systems every day, from the kettle that switches off when the water boils to the
videocassette recorder (VCR) we program to record a late night show while we sleep. Thu
s control
technology enables devices to be programmed to achieve goals, such as recording the late night
show, or to respond to events, such as switching off the kettle when the water temperature reaches a
pre
-
defined range.

Young children also use simple
control systems from the stop and play buttons of a tape recorder to
the mouse and overlay keyboard that produce immediate results on the computer. They progress to
controlling the movement of a floor robot or turtle using software which allows them to pla
n and to give
instructions in the correct sequence to achieve a goal, such as sending the turtle on a shopping trip.

Later on, children make models respond to changes in the environment using software and a control
box. For example, making a model lighthou
se switch on its lamp when the ambient light falls below a
certain level, or enabling a buggy they have made (possibly from a construction kit) to navigate
through a maze.

Clearly, control technology is all around us. It can be used for simple tasks, such
as translating our
actions into something that a system understands, to more complex operations in which the control
technology varies its behaviour according to external conditions.




Technical paper
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Control technology



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Where are control systems used?

Control technology enables many everyday

systems to be controlled automatically. In the home we
may have a central heating system which lets us wake up to a warm house by turning on the heating if
the weather is cold. These are often programmable so that we can set them to switch off when we go
to work and switch on again before we arrive home.

Some houses have burglar alarm systems that use digital sensors to detect if a window or door is
opened, and analogue sensors to detect movement by measuring the amount of infrared radiation
emitted by any
thing warm that moves in the rooms

Burglar alarm systems use software to monitor the state of the sensors and make decisions. For
example, if the front door opens the software will wait to see if the deactivation code is entered in the
control box. Whereas
, if the window opens, the system will immediately raise the alarm by switching
on the siren and/or phoning the police.

In the high street we find simple control systems, such as shop doors which open when we approach
them, as well as more intelligent ones

like PEdestrian LIght CONtrolled (PELICAN) crossings and
Pedestrian User Friendly INtelligent (PUFFIN) crossings
[http://www.roads.dft.gov.uk/roadnetwork/ditm/tal/signs/01_02/].

The PUFFIN crossing is a good example of a real system that can be modelled i
n the classroom. The
pedestrian presses a button to register their intention to cross the road. The control system uses
kerbside detectors, such as a pressure mat, to cancel this request if the pedestrian walks away,
perhaps having crossed the road in a ga
p in the traffic. It also has infrared sensors to detect people on
the crossing to extend or reduce the ‘all
-
red’ period to suit the crossing speed of the pedestrian. This
removes the need for the ‘flashing green’ stage of the PELICAN crossing.

Becta

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Control technology



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In industr
y, computer
-
controlled robots now handle many repetitive tasks from assembling cars to
selecting and grading apples. These autonomous robots use sensors, including cameras, to gather
information about their environment, process it and respond appropriately
.

In schools

The National Curriculum [http://www.nc.uk.net/] and the QCA Schemes of Work
[http://www.standards.dfee.gov.uk/schemes/] provide a framework for pupils’ experience of control
technology. This experience begins at the foundation stage (pupils ag
ed 3
-

to 5
-
years old). The book
Curriculum Guidance for the Foundation Stage
[www.qca.org.uk/ca/foundation/guidance/foundation_stage.pdf], published by QCA, states, for
example, that the practitioner should ‘give opportunities to control a programmable toy
, for example a
floor robot’ (ibid. page 94).

The following table, published by Becta [http://curriculum.becta.org.uk/docserver.php?docid=806],
outlines where control features in the programmes of study for both ICT and D&T in Key Stages 1 to 4,
and gives
ideas for activities to support these.

Age

In ICT pupils will need
to:

In D&T pupils will need
to:

Control in practice

5

7

KS1

Give direct signals or
commands that produce a
variety of outcomes; use ICT
based models or simulations
to explore aspects of re
al and
imaginary situations.

Work with a range of
materials and components
including construction kits.
Apply skills, knowledge and
understanding from other
subjects.


Control the movement of a
turtle or use on/off control in
their models; design a route
f
or turtle to go shopping, or
control the lighting in a
lighthouse.


7

11

KS2

Create, test, modify and store
sequences of instructions to
control events.

Use ICT to monitor external
events.

Explore the effect of
changing variables.

Know how mechanisms can
be used to make things move
in different ways, using a
range of equipment including
an ICT control program.

Know how electrical circuits,
including those with simple
switches, can be used to
achieve functional results.

Design and make an
animated scene or
kinetic
model which receives
information from switches;
use a control interface to
design and control a
sequence of events: traffic
lights, car park barrier or
models for fairground rides.

11

14

KS3

Plan, develop, test and
modify sets of instructions
and
procedures to control
events.

Design, use and interconnect
simple mechanical, electrical,
electronic and pneumatic
systems; know that systems
have inputs, processes and
outputs.

Use control interfaces with a
computer to control systems
they have designed a
nd
made, eg, for a model theatre
or fairground.

14

16

KS4

Apply, in a variety of
contexts, their existing
knowledge and
understanding of modelling
measurement and control.

The importance of feedback,
and how it can be used to
ensure the correct functionin
g
of systems.

Design and make computer
-
controlled systems which
respond to inputs from
sensors and other systems,
eg, a practice simulator for
golf or other games for use at
the school fair, which
respond when a target is
struck.


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Simulations, which can a
lso be considered as control systems, are also an important tool for
understanding science. For example, during the study of science at Key Stage 2 (Sc2: life processes
and living things), pupils have the opportunity to ‘…use simulation software to show ch
anges in the
populations of micro
-
organisms in different conditions’ (Sc2, paragraph 5f).

What types of control systems are there?

Control systems can be classified into four types:



Command systems that immediately carry out commands, like a remote control
.



Programmable systems that execute stored commands unconditionally, like a simple video
recorder.



Sensing systems that respond to external conditions, like an automatic door.



Conditional systems that vary their behaviour according to external conditions,
like a
central heating system.

Command systems blindly do what you tell them. From a control perspective, these systems use
outputs to make things happen but have no other inputs.

Programmable systems, in the narrow sense used above, simply remember the co
mmands they are
given and blindly execute them in sequence when they are told to start.

Sensing systems have inputs as well as outputs. Inputs allow them to respond to external events, like
heat, light and sound. There are two types of inputs: digital (whi
ch return a yes/no value) and analogue
(which return a specific value from a range of possibilities).

Conditional systems add a certain amount of ‘intelligence’ to the control system. They use inputs to
monitor external events and some internal logic to ma
ke decisions about what outputs to activate
(usually referred to as input


process


output). This can be seen in the way that the central heating
system comes on when a number of time and/or temperature conditions are met. Simple AND OR
logic gates, or s
oftware running on a computer or micro
-
controller (a single chip that contains all the
major elements of a microcomputer), can be used to provide the internal logic for conditional systems.

Real or simulated?

All students should have the experience that co
mes from designing and building a real system but that
is not to say that simulation is a poor substitute for the real thing.

Simulations are used in industry when designing, analysing and testing systems on both economic and
safety grounds before they are

built.

The Logo computer language, which controls the movement of an on
-
screen ‘turtle’, is not a poor
substitute for controling a floor robot, as can be seen from the use of StarLogo
[http://education.mit.edu/starlogo/] or NetLogo [http://ccl.northwester
n.edu/netlogo/] by Key Stage 3
pupils to draw fractals or model populations of termites or study the ecosystem of the rabbit.

Thus, both real and simulated control systems are useful learning tools which should be selected in
the light of the learning obje
ctives.

There are now a number of different software environments where the concepts of control can be
explored in new ways. ToonTalk [http://www.toontalk.com/] and The Magic Forrest
[http://www.logo.com/cat/view/magicforest.html] allow Key Stage 1 and 2 c
hildren to create games by
specifying how objects on the screen behave and interact. Worldmaker
[http://worldmaker.cite.hku.hk/worldmaker/pages], Stagecast [http://www.stagecast.com/] and
AgentSheets [http://www.agentsheets.com/] are examples where agent
-
b
ased simulations can be
studied and created by Key Stage 2 and 3 children.

Becta

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Control technology



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There are also various software applications that can be used as virtual control systems, for example,
Crocodile Technology [http://www.crocodile
-
clips.com/crocodile/technology/], L
ogicator
[http://www.logicalsoftware.co.uk/], Control Insight [http://www.logo.com/cat/browse/modelling
-
control.html] and Flowol [http://www.flowol.com/]. Some of these allow you to build systems like traffic
lights and burglar alarms, others use on
-
screen

simulations that are programmed using flow charts or
icon
-
based languages. With the addition of suitable hardware, some of these systems will also control
physical devices.

Simulations also offer alternative ways of managing the learning. For example, aft
er starting the
lesson with a demonstration of a real model, pupils could all use a simulation to develop their control
program. As they complete their programs they could then use them to control a real model.

What do you need?

To successfully introduce c
ontrol technology requires a clear idea of the progression of both the skills
and concepts involved.

A floor robot


£50

100

(KS1

2)

Pressing buttons on a floor robot to move it forward, backward, and to turn it left or right can be used
as a concrete foun
dation to sequencing commands and to developing pupils’ ability to predict the
outcome of a simple command sequence.

With the introduction of sensors, the robots can be instructed to respond to changes in the
environment, such as light or sound levels

Logo



£0

100

(KS1

4)

By progressing to software like Logo, which can display a history of commands, repeated sequences
can be identified and the repeat command introduced. This leads to refining sequences of commands
by editing, and to being able to experimen
t with questions like “What do we change to make it draw a
square/rectangle/triangle?”

Introducing procedures or functions as named blocks of code allows for the use of variables to
generalise a procedure, and recursion to get a procedure to call itself.

A

control interface


£60

260

(KS1

4)

A control interface allows computer programs to control a range of models and respond to external
conditions. There is an equivalent progression when using a control interface but the concepts
introduced depend on the s
oftware being used.

Control software


£0

100

(KS1

4)

Most control interfaces include software to program the device from a computer, but this is not the only
option. Some software packages work with a range of hardware devices. These can be used to
provid
e additional facilities not present in the software bundled with the interface, or to standardise the
software used to program a range of different devices.

The software used to control devices can be classified as textual, flowchart or iconic. Textual sof
tware,
like Logo, requires the user to type in text such as loop [if sensorA > 128 [ab onFor 20] which switches
motors a and b on for 20 milliseconds when sensor A records above a certain value.

In flowchart based software, such as Flowol or Logicator you
would draw a diagram. (For examples,
see the Flowol [http://www.flowol.com/] and Logicator [http://www.logicalsoftware.co.uk/] websites).

In iconic software, such as Lego RoboLab and Junior Control Insight, icons representing the sensor,
the motors and a 2

second delay are placed in the appropriate order. (For information about RoboLab
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in use, see the Kent NGfL Robolab Project website [http://www.west
-
borough.kent.sch.uk/robolabeval.htm] and for examples of Junior Control Insight, see the Logotron
website [
http://www.logo.com/cat/view/junior
-
control
-
insight.html].

Iconic languages and other metaphors have been used to make programming more accessible to
young children


see the Playground Project [http://www.ioe.ac.uk/playground/].

Models and sensors


£40

2
00

(KS1

4)

Starting with the on, off and wait commands, a sequence of instructions to control a flashing lamp in a
model lighthouse can be created.

By using traffic lights to model a pedestrian crossing, the concept of a programmed sequence that is
trigger
ed by a sensor (the button pushed by the waiting pedestrian) can be introduced. This concept
can be developed into systems that vary the timings dependant on infrared sensors that monitor traffic
flow and pedestrian movement. This leads on to a considerati
on of feedback in control systems (see
[www.roads.dft.gov.uk/roadnetwork/ditm/tal/signs/01_02/] for the details of a Puffin crossing)

It is useful to start with pre
-
built models so that the initial focus can be on the concepts of control that
are being int
roduced. Pupils can then progress to building models


initially from kits


but as this is
time consuming it is best considered as a separate activity.

Electronics and construction kits


£5

300

(KS2

4)

There are a number of products designed to support w
ork in this area. Products range from those
used to deliver a broad range of curriculum, such as RoboLab, to those designed to be a consumable
component (£5) which enable pupils to build a significant element of control into the products which
they design
and make.

The Technology Enhancement Programme (TEP) has designed a number of consumable
components including the IQ micro
-
controller
[http://www.marconiect.org/php/display.php?module_id=99&item_id=803], and the Picaxe micro
-
controller system which is prog
rammed from the computer. The Picaxe software uses flow charts and
a text
-
based language, and the license enables pupils to use the software at home.
[http://www.mutr.co.uk/Prog/Prog_picaxe.htm]

The BBC’s Build
-
A
-
Bot Kit [http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/robot
s/techlab/robot_order_info.shtml],
designed by TEP, has on
-
line support materials [http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/robots/teachers/]
detailing how the relevant parts of the curriculum can be delivered using this resource for pupils aged
7
-

to 16
-
years old.

Ro
boLab starter kits, from the Lego Mindstorms for Schools range, contain all the parts necessary to
build and control a number of different models. Hertfordshire LEA publishes materials detailing how
the QCA units for Years 5 and 6 can be delivered using th
is resource. Hertfordshire schools can
download these resources from
[http://www.thegrid.org.uk/learning/ict/primary/ict/control_and_monitoring/index.html], other schools
can purchase the materials from Commotion as Product code: 07954
-
1 (£24.95).

There ar
e also a range of resources designed to support annual competitions such as Micromouse
[http://www.mmu.ac.uk/micromouse/schools.shtml] and Technogames
[http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/robots/techgameentry/index.shtml]. Resources include:



Swallow line
-
follower

robot [http://www.swallow.co.uk/dash/dash1.htm]



wall
-
follower robot [http://www.swallow.co.uk/mad/follower.htm]



various TEP components sold by Middlesex University
[http://www.mutr.co.uk/Prog/Prog.htm].

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If you have Texas instruments graphing calculators t
hen Norland Research produces a PIC based
calculator
-
controlled robot kit [http://www.smallrobot.com/scimath.html] which has two motors and two
pressure switch inputs.

What issues should I consider before buying?

General considerations

In a primary school,

a combined control interface and datalogging box that is able to fulfil both sets of
curriculum requirements may offer significant benefits. For example, training is simplified and
confidence in using the system transfers between the different activities.

Some devices use one
software application to run both the control and datalogging functions, while others use separate
software applications for each function. This may simplify its use but you need to consider if the
functionality of either component has

been compromised. Can the combined solution deliver all your
planned control and datalogging activities?

If you already have some control interfaces and need some more you should consider the benefits of
standardising at least within a year group or key s
tage. This reduces the training requirement and
allows development of common curriculum support materials. To achieve this would mean either
buying more of the same hardware or choosing hardware that can use a software package compatible
with the old equip
ment.

Other issues to consider:



Are teaching resources available for the product over the internet? For example, from your
LEA, Regional Broadband Consortium (RBC), or from the supplier.



Is training and support for the product available locally?



Are there
any support networks for the product, such as other local schools or internet
communities?



Does your LEA or local Science, Engineering and Technology Point (SETPOINT) support
the product?

(SETPOINTS have been established by SETNET, the Science Engineering
Technology Mathematics
Network. SETNET is one of the outcomes of a government initiative: Action for Engineering.
SETPOINTS operate as a focus for teachers, business and industry to obtain information about
resources, schemes and initiatives concerned with

science, engineering, technology and mathematics.
Many SETPOINTS offer taught modules for 30 pupils, including transport to and from the school, for
less than £5 per person. This is an interesting way to introduce control; if you plan to take advantage
o
f this scheme then the equipment used by the SETPOINT should be considered. To find your local
SETPOINT, visit the SETNET website [www.setnet.org.uk/] or telephone SETNET on 020 7636 7705.)

Considerations when purchasing floor robots



Is it accurate? Some c
heaper programmable toys are not very accurate, particularly when
turning, and this can have an impact when pupils are trying to predict the outcome of a
sequence of commands.



Does the robot require a computer? Having a set of buttons to press on the robot

allows
younger children to access the activity.



Can it connect to the computer? If it can, then you need to ensure that your computer
meets the system requirements stated by the robot’s manufacturer. This may include
having a free serial, parallel or univ
ersal serial bus (USB) port.



Can it be programmed from the computer? Some floor robots can be programmed via a
cable or infrared link to a computer. This opens up more possibilities for progression to, for
example, Logo.



Does it or can it have sensors atta
ched? Having sensors would allow for progression to
more complex control programs.

Becta

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Control technology



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What batteries can it use? The cost of disposable batteries must be balanced against the
need for charging rechargeable batteries in time for the lesson. Some devices offer
both
options.

Considerations when purchasing Logo or turtle graphics

Logo can be used from foundation to post graduate level, so selecting an appropriate implementation
is essential. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where Papert’s team firs
t created Logo
in 1967, hosts an authoritative website which includes information about different implementations of
Logo [http://el.media.mit.edu/logo
-
foundation/], free downloads, news, history, latest research and
publications. Many of the simplest Logo
-
based programs implement a small subset of the language
known as ‘turtle graphics’. Unfortunately these simple implementations are not featured on the MIT
website. An alternative listing, including the subsets of Logo, can be found by searching Curriculum

Online [http://www.curriculumonline.gov.uk/].

Questions to ask:

Does it have multiple levels for progression? Some versions of Logo vary the user interface in a
number of steps from the simplest presentation of four icons or command buttons (similar to th
e
buttons on a floor robot) to full text entry.



Can the keyboard’s arrow keys be used to move the turtle? This allows children at
foundation level to successfully complete simulation exercises, like parking a car or moving
a bee from flower to flower, whil
st learning that pressing right turns a quarter turn rather
than moving to the right.



Can you load backgrounds and change turtles easily? This allows activities, such as the
two mentioned above, to be prepared in advance and then simply loaded.



Can it cont
rol external devices, such as a robot?



Can it handle sound, video, web pages and animation?



Can you create interface objects like buttons, sliders, monitors, switches, and text boxes?
With more advanced versions of Logo you can make user interface objects
interact with
the program you have written. For example, buttons can invoke procedures and sliders can
change the value of variables.

Considerations when purchasing a control interface

The first consideration should be how does the interface connect to the

computer? Some, like TEP’s
IQ micro
-
controller and Data Harvest’s Learn & Go [http://www.data
-
harvest.co.uk/control/learn_go.html], do not need to connect to a computer as they have on
-
board
programming However, most control interfaces require a computer
connection and this places
constraints on which computers can be used.

A system that can be programmed from the computer will have a component that plugs into the
computer. This is true even if the control interface is wireless, as a transceiver will need
to be plugged
into the computer to enable the wireless communication.

The connection to the computer can be through serial, USB, or parallel ports. Traditionally the
connection was via the serial port, but modern computers tend to use the faster USB port.
Consequently, you will need to audit the computers that you intend to use with the interface and
determine how port availability will constrain your selection. Most interfaces have one or other type of
port rather than both. Some may be able to use a USB t
o serial converter/adapter. There may be
some constraints imposed by using an adapter, which may appear as an unusual port name such as
COM9 which the control software may not allow.

If the preferred control interface is supplied with a USB connection, you
r computer audit must also
include an audit of installed operating systems. This is because two versions of Microsoft Windows do
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not readily support USB connections


Windows NT has no USB drivers supplied as standard, and
Windows 95 has reduced USB functi
onality.

Other considerations include:



How many outputs are suitable for controlling motors? Don’t assume that all outputs can
control motors as more current is required and additional functionality may be needed,
such as the ability to change the speed an
d direction of the motor.



How many digital and analogue inputs are there? The number required depends on the
activity. For example, a robot with a touch sensor on the front and rear bumpers and a light
sensor on the roof would require three inputs, two dig
ital ones for the switches and one
analogue one for the light sensor. (The speed and resolution of the analogue to digital
converters is less likely to be limiting when the analogue ports are being used as control
sensors rather than data streams and this
is why some devices that combine control and
datalogging functionality are compromised.)



Can existing electrical equipment, which commonly uses 4mm plugs, be connected? This
allows the integration of computer control with other electrical circuit building
activities.



Can programs be downloaded, stored and run in the interface so that it can be used away
from the computer? When combined with the ability to run multiple copies of the software
without the interface connected, this allows several groups of chil
dren to create programs
at the same time. When their program is complete the interface can be connected to the
computer to download the program.



What is the power source? Using batteries for a control interface allows for the portability
described above an
d bypasses the requirement for an additional power socket. However,
the cost of using disposable batteries can be significant and using rechargeable batteries
adds the risk of flat batteries disrupting the lesson. If mains power is chosen, then ensure
that

you have enough power sockets for the equipment in use.



Is the power to the interface isolated from the computer? Without isolation there is a small
chance that power from the interface can damage the computer.

Considerations re control software

Selecting

software to teach control is similar to selecting other software. You need to ensure
compatibility with your computer’s operating system and the control interface, and then assess ease of
use and functionality.



What style of programming does it use?



Is it

compatible with all your control interface hardware?

Considerations re sensors



What sensors are available? A simple switch, which is digital, will indicate when a robot is
touching an object and simulate a pelican
-
crossing request, but more complex contro
l
requires analogue sensors.



Can you build your own? If you are limited to the sensors provided by the manufacturer,
then ensure that all the sensors you require are available for the interface you select.



Are they suitable for the intended environment? Th
e system you want to build may have
specific requirements for robust sensors working in a particular range.

Considerations re models

Models can be designed and built by the pupils, bought as kits or pre
-
built ready for use. As mentioned
previously, designi
ng and building models is time consuming and is best considered as a separate
activity. When introducing control, it will be easier to pre
-
build the models.

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Is progression possible without rebuilding models? (If so, this will help to keep the focus on
the
concepts of control being introduced.)



Are they robust? Some of the models built from construction kits can come apart during
use. If you are using building blocks to create models you may want to try using PVA
(polyvinyl acetate) adhesive to temporarily f
ix non
-
moving parts together. (Blocks glued
with PVA can subsequently be separated by soaking them in water.)

What are the implementation issues?

Plan time to familiarise yourself with the various components and how they connect together. With
anything tha
t connects to a computer, ensure that the software is installed on the computer you will be
using in the lesson. Models may need to be built and stored or components for each model placed in
separate boxes. This simplifies the assembly and keeps the focus
on the control aspect rather than,
for example, the colour of the bricks used to make the model.

Check that power is available. Depending on the equipment, you will either need a free mains socket,
batteries that have been charged, or spare disposable batt
eries.

Other sources of information

Curriculum related

Curriculum Online is a single point of reference for teachers to find, compare, select and share
relevant digital resources including software and materials for control technology.

[http://www.curricul
umonline.gov.uk/]

Using ICT to meet teaching objectives in secondary design and technology (Word document)

[http://www.canteach.gov.uk/publications/community/ict/exemplification/secd&t.doc]

Using ICT to meet teaching objectives in primary design and techno
logy (Word document)

[http://www.canteach.gov.uk/publications/community/ict/exemplification/prid&t.doc]

Examples of pupils’ work (PDF):

[http://www.ncaction.org.uk/items/pdf/204.pdf]

[http://www.ncaction.org.uk/items/pdf/217.pdf]

Case Studies (Key Stages 3

and 4)

[http://www.marconiect.org/php/display.php?module_id=86]

Using ICT in systems and control technology at GCSE

[http://vtc.ngfl.gov.uk/docserver.php?docid=4800]

Control in Foundation

Support for foundation teachers: control and modelling

[http://www.
hitchams.suffolk.sch.uk/foundation/progression/control.htm]

Successful Implementation of PIC Technology into D&T at Key Stage 4 (Gatsby Fellowship Study)

Available from John Cook Lancaster Girls’ Grammar School.

[http://www.lancastergirlsgrammar.lancs.sch.
uk/tc%20services.htm]

Using RoboLab to fulfil QCA Control & Monitoring for Ages 5
-
6 by Rob Widger and Steve Mills
Supports people who have chosen to use RoboLab.

"Commotion Group"

Tel: 01732 773399

Product code: 07954
-
1

The product costs £24.95

Hertfordshi
re Schools can download this from
[http://www.thegrid.org.uk/learning/ict/primary/ict/control_and_monitoring/index.html]

Becta

|
Technical paper
|

Control technology



© Becta 2003

http://www.becta.org.uk/

page
11

of
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published April 2003
-

Archived in April 2005


Control, simulation, robotics resources

Logicator


teaching materials using simulation

[http://www.edu.dudley.gov.uk/ict/software/logi
cator/]

Online simulation of traffic lights

[http://www.phy.ntnu.edu.tw/java/trafficControl/trafficControl.html]

Roamer Control (responds to light, touch, sound and temperature)

[http://www.valiant
-
technology.com/products/control1.htm] and

[http://www.kent
ed.org.uk/ngfl/roamer
-
control/intro
-
page.html]

SodaConstructor

Build and control a virtual robot.

[http://sodaplay.com/constructor/index.htm]

Telescope robotic control


LTRobot:

LTRobot allows pupils to construct an observing schedule that can then be run

to show the
movements (in 3D) of the telescope, how it tracks across the night sky and the observations
(photographs) it is programmed to take.

[http://www.schoolsobservatory.org.uk/staff/sres/ltrobot.htm]

The Tech Museum of Innovation

[http://www.thetech
.org/exhibits/online/robotics/]

The museum has as an online simulation where you can control a robot on the earth or the moon.

The delay incurred by sending your commands to the robot on the moon illustrates the need for semi
-
autonomous navigation that is
discussed in detail in the following reference.

Exploring Mars Using Intelligent Robots by Paris Andreou and Adonis Charalambides
[http://www.doc.ic.ac.uk/~nd/surprise_95/journal/vol4/pma/report.html]

University of Connecticut ‘s Control Station software

[
http://www.engr.uconn.edu/control/cstation.html]

Organisations/associations

CLEAPSS (Consortium of Local Education Authorities for the Provision of Science Services)

[www.cleapss.org.uk/]

Manufacturing Technologies Association (MTA)

[http://www.mta.org.uk/
pages.php3?secid=4]

Marconi ECT (electronics and communications technology project)

[http://www.marconiect.org/]

The Design and Technology Association

[http://www.data.org.uk/]

Becta

|
Technical paper
|

Control technology



© Becta 2003

http://www.becta.org.uk/

page
12

of
12


published April 2003
-

Archived in April 2005


Advanced robotics:

leJOS 2.0

[http://www.lejos.org]

Created by Jose Soloranzo,

leJOS 2.0 is an implementation of Java for the Lego RCX which allows for
more sophisticated programs using artificial intelligence techniques.

For more information about the use of leJOS and Java technology in robotics:

Listen to the audiocast by Simon Ri
tter of Sun Microsystems (presentation also available as PDF).
[http://developer.java.sun.com/developer/onlineTraining/webcasts/singapore/sritter/sritter.html]

Review a presentation given to the Java user group by Jochen Hiller (PDF).

[http://www.jugs.org/
protokolle/02
-
09
-
12/leJOS
-
v1.1.pdf]

Read Core LEGO MINDSTORMS Programming by Brian Bagnall (published by Pearson Education,
March 2002, ISBN 0130093645).

Advanced controller and datalogger:

The Cricket

Research at MIT, which gave rise to Logo and Lego Mind
storms, continues to produce interesting
developments. The Cricket is a tiny computer that can control two motors and receive information from
two sensors. It is powered by and is about the same size as a 9
-
volt battery
[http://handyboard.com/cricket/]

Cri
ckets are available from Gleason Research

[http://www.gleasonresearch.com/index.html]

More about Crickets:

Media Lab at MIT

[http://lcs.www.media.mit.edu/people/fredm/projects/cricket/]

IBM Systems Journal (PDF)

[http://www.research.ibm.com/journal/sj/393/
part2/martin.pdf]

To Mindstorms and Beyond: Evolution of a Construction Kit for Magical Machines


a video
presentation (requires broadband).

[http://www.aduni.org/colloquia/martin/].

Advanced simulations:

Thinking Science On Computer (July 2002)

[http://w
ww.cz3.nus.edu.sg/~chenk/gem2503/gem2503.htm]

Chen Kan’s undergraduate course on computer simulations using Netlogo includes examples from
predator
-
prey systems, vehicular traffic flow, fire
-
fly flash synchronization, ant colonies, earthquakes,
DLA, diseas
e spreading, and social
-
economic systems. These are used to illustrate the emergence of
complexity in self
-
organizing systems. Examples are provided in Netlogo
[http://ccl.northwestern.edu/netlogo/].