A week ago, I held a large station-style robotics program called “Robot Invasion,” and I introduced several robots and electronics kits including Cubelets, Sphero, LittleBits, Snap Circuits, Snap Circuit Rover, and the Finch. I introduced the Finch to the group as one of the more challenging things there, and said it might be best for someone with a bit of experience with Scratch programming. As I had hoped, one boy ran right up and grabbed the Finch and a laptop. He had used Scratch extensively, and had heard of the Finch but never got a chance to try one.
I’ve found most of the robots to be fairly intuitive, but I haven’t had a lot of time with the Finch. Part of my preparation for the program included reading other Robot Test Kitchen reviews and it was more helpful than I could have imagined. I was able to anticipate and circumvent setup difficulties. We did reach an impasse after installing the programs and downloading the extensions for Scratch — I couldn’t get them to appear in the “More Blocks” menu. I tried to make the best of this by asking the boy, “What do you think we should do?” and he suggested we close Scratch and reopen it from a different menu — and that worked. In very little time he and soon several others were very capably commanding the Finch. They did not seem bothered that it was tethered by the cord.
I’ll risk sounding too nerdy and say that reading Robot Test Kitchen reviews helped with this program the way that using a map helped me navigate The Legend of Zelda back when I was a kid; you still have to fight the bad guys, but at least you know how to get to them. Reading about others’ experiences and challenges helped me prepare and problem-solve. Both reviewers recommended this for someone with some coding or Scratch experience, and knowing that up front helped me match it with patrons who could get the most from this experience.
TL;DR: Robot Test Kitchen reviews helped me make good use of my time and improve my patrons’ program experience.