A New Member to "The NXT STEP" Blog Team

Hi everyone. I first want to thank Jim Kelly for inviting me to contribute to this blog.

Some information about myself: I work as a research engineer in the Mechanical Engineering Dept. at University of Saskatchewan in Canada. I have been a fan of LEGO and robotics most of my life (got my first LEGO set at 4 yrs old), and am currently looking at using Mindstorms and Technic to enhance our university's curriculum. In my spare time, I enjoy building robots and mechanisms out of LEGO. I am interested in design, not just engineering.

I hope to bring contributions to this blog that will stir interest. I encourage you to see Jim Kelly's posting below titled: "Pursuing the Camera subject..." for my initial contribution, and I invite your comments there. We are all making the NXT into more than it was ever imagined to be.

Kirk Backstrom


Hi Kirk,

Welcome! I use Mindstorms in a community college setting. I'd be happy to compare notes and brainstorm on ways to apply the Mindstorms to enhance curriculum.

Robolab 2.9 said…
Hey Kirk,

Welcome to the team! I hope to hear more about your interesting ideas.

Robolab 2.9
Kirk Backstrom said…
Thank you Larry and Robolab 2.9!

Larry, I would be happy to notes/brainstorm with you. My email is kirk.backstrom -at- usask.ca

What fields have you used (or would like to use) Mindstorms with, and in what ways are you using Mindstorms in those fields?
I know I'm well into sounding like a Parrot...but...

Arr, Welcome Aboard Matey! Arr...

Now, go forth and post some great booty! Or, we'll make ye walk the plank!

Hi Kirk,

I'll look forward to further correspondance. My email is langellier@morainevalley.edu.

So far, the way we've used the Mindstorms robots at Moraine Valley Community College are:

- for elementary, middle school, and high school field trips (I can teach a group to do a simple program or two with the robots in 30 to 45 minutes to introduce them to programming)
- we use the robots for a unit or two in our Introduction to Computer Systems and Programming Principles courses.
- we offer non-credit "college for kids" courses after-school, weekends, and summers.
- we use them for on-campus "festivals" for the current college students to interest them in our programs
- next year I'm starting a robotics club at MVCC for the college students
- we are offering a three credit hour course titled Introduction to LEGO Robotics

In the past week I've gotten my dean and the coordinator of the non-credit program for kids to agree to purchase 27 NXT sets with the resource sets to replace the 27 RCX sets we have. We are not going to retire the RCXs though - we hope to use them at a satellite campus to start offering the non-credit stuff for kids there.

If you'd like to check out some of the non-credit courses we're offering you can see them here. There is also a link on the left of that page to "The LEGO Experience" which has some pictures and quotes from the participants.

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