By: Mashal Ashraf
Honestly, I’m not a very active type of person. After my end of year (EOY) exams came to an end and school was out, I expected myself to spend my summer reading books and probably using my phone almost 24/7. Just the thing every other child of my age is expected to do, right? I didn’t expect myself to be going to do an internship and learning all sports of new , interesting things like robotics and programming , two things that I’ve never even bothered to try. Well, we should always expect the unexpected, and guess what? That’s exactly what I ended up doing!
To tell you the truth, I was not looking forward to going to LearnOBots; I thought it was going to be boring and that the teachers were probably going to make us study. Yet again I was proven wrong and now, after doing the Basic, Advance 1 and Advance 2 camps, I honestly cannot think of a better way to have spent my summer. It’s actually been the best summer I’ve had and definitely the best experience too. Not only were the teachers absolutely brilliant, but the activities we had were just amazing. In the Basic camp, we got a good introduction to all the activities we were going to do and just got used to the environment of things. The teachers guided us and helped a lot as we started using all these different programs and software’s. You could say that the Basic camp gave us our little kick start into the world of computers. The advance 1 camp, however, was a little bit trickier as we needed to start thinking ourselves and rely less on the teachers. The activities were a little more challenging and it was really fun as we got to do a little bit of experimenting ourselves. I thoroughly enjoyed the robotics competition, in which we were asked to program a fire fighter robot that could detect a fire, turn on its flashing lights and lead people to safety exit without colliding with any wall or building, using the skills that we learned in the two camps.
The independence of the task and the friendly competition is what made the activities really exiting. Another lesson I really enjoyed in the two camps was the 3D Modelling and Printing (1 and 2) activity. In the basic camp we learned how to make 3D models and in the Advance 1 camp we made our own 3D models and then got them printed. I also enjoyed all the other lessons and activities that we were given.
In Advance 2, we started learning and focusing more on programming rather than robotics. While in the Basics and Advance 1 camps we use graphical programming, in advanced 2 we started learning higher level programming languages such as python and C language. Both languages, although tricky to write, are surprisingly easy to understand. I feel that I had more fun in the last camp more than in the first two because we started learning new things that were hard but fun to learn and exciting to experiment with. Somehow, I’ve actually found that I really like programming lot, even though I tend to complain about it sometimes during the lesson.
I particularly had fun during the processing Digital arts (1 and 2) lessons, which I find quite amusing considering the fact that I despise art in real life, and not to mention the other fact of me being terrible at it. The Quad-copters 1 lesson was by far the most intriguing. Learning about quad-copters and seeing how they’re used in our lives definitely left me surprised. The lesson didn’t end too well for me, but it was still really fun.
The teachers were main reason I really enjoyed all the activities; they’re so awesome! Throughout the three camps we have had a numbers of teachers in our lessons including Sir Naveed, Sir Wassam, Ma’am Maryam, Ma’am Hira, Ma’am Sadaf and Ma’am Sania, all of whom made the activities fun and exciting.
The every first teacher I had was Sir Naveed. When I thought that the teachers were going to be strict, he was the person that proved me wrong. I can remember sitting in my chair on the first day and forcing myself to remember his name so I wouldn’t forget, and when he turned out to be really nice and cool, and not at all strict, I was actually pretty surprised. I also stopped expecting all the other teachers to be strict and for once, my expectations became reality. All the teachers that I had were really nice and taught us very well. They also helped me understand any concepts I couldn’t understand myself. Not to mention they have all been really easy to talk to and didn’t seem to mind my slight sense of humor when I joke around a little ( well actually I’m pretty sure I joke around quite a bit).
All in all, I’ve had an awesome time! I really feel that, for once, I’ve actually done something really useful with my holidays and I certainly do not regret it!
Thanks to all the teachers who have somehow managed to deal with me for a good few weeks and to all the teachers who can remember my name properly.