VEX is unique in that STEM is taught in a way that goes beyond theory. “Hello World” has found a physical form in the “Drive Forward” command. Excitement arises when your first command is input on the screen and you can see the idea you had in mind take its shape.
Like many, you may have been introduced to VEX by a teacher, colleague, or even seeing a tournament play out. Amazingly, the robots that can lift, tread, or climb probably caught your attention and sparked your interest to try it out for yourself.
Before making the choice it is highly recommended that you check [insert which robot to choose] so that you first get an idea to which platform you would like to use for your goals. Next, check out the Certifications we have online that are available for free. Once you have that down, let’s talk about the coding and some of the more frequently asked questions.
I have never done coding, where do I start?
More than likely, if you have no prior experience with Robotics or programming, you’ll want to start with VEXcode Blocks.
While Hollywood loves to emphasize how skillful programmers are by displaying rapid typing on screens, coding goes well beyond your words per minute. Our certifications go in- depth on studies about how robotics can be beneficial in more ways than one.
Coding is a way to place your thoughts and theories into a language that the computer, and your robot, understand. It’s very important to emphasize just how much of a project is done before ever touching the computer. Using block coding takes syntax (the complicated way codes need to be input) out of the equation. Instead of having to spend hours of frustration trying to find the proper way to set up a single motor (and the constant “compiler error” message) you get to focus on the important stuff. By using Block coding you will be introduced to some coding verbiage that will help you grasp an idea of what each block does.
You will still use “While” loops and “Booleans” but VEXcode will guide you in how these concepts work to execute the commands you want. Within minutes you can make your robot obey some basic commands, and with practice you will be able to execute some very complex programs. Going through our STEM Labs will also help you develop critical thinking skills that will build a firm foundation in which to work on, before moving on to text based coding.
I’ve done robotics before, just not VEX.
Great! You are already ahead! Just like a spoken language, once you learn one, another can be easier to learn. Like before, Blocks may be worth looking at prior to jumping into text so that you can familiarize yourself with the VEX environment. However, you may immediately find yourself completely familiar and decide to move to text. If this is the case, check out our Knowledge Base that contains articles like “How to Code a Function'' or “Setting Up a Motor” using text. Once you are comfortable you can head on over to text-based coding!
I’ve already used VEX and have programmed through ROBOTC.
You may be ready to jump straight into text coding. Take a look at the API Reference and you should be on your way to using VEXcode with the skills learned through ROBOTC.