Magazine article Multimedia & Internet@Schools

Valiant Roamer

Magazine article Multimedia & Internet@Schools

Valiant Roamer

Article excerpt

***** REPORT CARD

Installation          A
Content/Features      A
Ease of Use           A
Product Support       A

Company: Valiant USA, P.O. Box 639, Forest Park. IL 60130: Phone: 888/366-6628: Fax: 708/366-8348; E-mail: info@valiantusa.com; Internet: http://www.valiant-technology.com/us/.

Price: $279.95--Roamer unit; $69.95--Roamer software (PC only), single copy. A wide variety of accessories can be purchased, ranging in price from $14.95 to $79.95.

Audience: K-8.

Description: The Roamer is a battery-operated, disc-shaped "robot" made of sturdy plastic that can be programmed to move forward or backward, turn, play music, and leave a trail.

Reviewer Comments:

Installation: The unit requires two "lantern" batteries or the Valiant Rechargeable Battery Pack. The batteries are easy to install, using a coin to open the cover.

The company cautions that the Valiant rechargeable batteries incorporate features essential for the safety and protection of the Roamer. The use of unapproved rechargeable batteries may damage the device and will void the warranty. Installation Rating: A

Content/Features: The Roamer moves on a set of wheels over a variety of surfaces, including flooring or carpeting. A keypad on the top controls movements. Users operate the Roamer by pressing an operation/function key, followed by a number key (0-9).

The device can be programmed in two ways: in a short-term memory process (known as the Go Program) or in a long-term memory storage process (known as Procedures).

The Go Program is made up of a list of instructions that are carried out when the user presses the Go key. When the unit is operated for the first time, the Go Program accesses a demonstration that shows the Roamer's basic functions.

A Clear Memory button clears previous Go Program instructions and allows the user to enter a new Go Program.

The Procedures are made up of lists of user-defined instructions, each identified with a number. A selected procedure is carried out when the appropriate number is selected. The Roamer can remember up to 59 instructions and can carry out hundreds of actions.

The device moves forward and backward in units equal to its body length and turns in angular units of one degree. These units of distance and turn can be redefined and saved as needed.

Roamer sounds can be played at one of five tempos and one of three octaves.

The Roamer Activity Book contains a variety of tasks and games to be used with students. An extensive list of additional activities and lesson plans are available on the company's Web site.

The Activity Book and online lesson plans offer a variety of tasks that complement math, science, and language arts instruction in the classroom.

The additional accessories available for purchase greatly extend the capabilities of the Roamer. Many scientific investigations can be undertaken using the optional sensor, light, and motor packs.

The extensive list of optional accessories includes rechargeable batteries and a battery charger, software and a PC interface, a literacy pack, nursery rhyme activity pack, control box, light pack, sensor pack, motor pack, control pack, playing cards, jackets, floor mats, posters, and platforms.

Classroom Applications: I sponsor a Lego Robotics Club that enjoyed the challenge of programming the Roamer robot. …

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