Flowol 4 allows students of all ages to develop logical reasoning and problem solving talents, develop programming skills and explore the world of automatic, autonomous systems and robots.
8 minutes introductory video on Flowol 4
Programming visually with a flowchart allows the student to focus on the logic of their solution rather than the syntax of a written program.
Flowol supports many programming elements:
- Sequences of instructions
- Branching using decisions
- Loops (infinite, or based on a condition or count)
- Variables and simple variable manipulation
- Sub-procedures (parameters optional)
- Multiple parallel threads
Mimics included in the Flowol 4 package
The Mimics included in the Flowol 4 package are progressive and introduce programming concepts in manageable steps.
All mimics include a series of graduated activities which encourage the student to explore the task further at their own pace. Results provide differentiation and allow the teacher to assess the student's achievements individually.
1. The first few mimics introduce the idea of simply controlling one, two and then six lights (outputs), in an appropriate way to make our roads safer.
2. Digital inputs are then added to operate several events within the same control situation. Subroutines are also employed to ensure compact and efficient programming.
3. Controlling motors (forward and reverse) are then applied to mechanisms. Responding to analog inputs (temperature & light sensors) also helps to control the multifunctional features of an Automatic home or Greenhouse.
4. Using Variables then becomes a useful tool to count and control. Different motor speeds can also be investigated and responding to the virtual inputs, triggered by the mimic itself, brings extra realism to the simulation.
The Flowol 4 package also includes the following three mimics:
Flowol 4 supports for the most hardware interfaces possible.
Below we split the interfaces into two categories: Control Box and Microcontrollers.
Control boxes are rugged pieces of hardware into which you can connect digital inputs (switches etc.), analogue inputs (temperature, light sensors etc.), digital outputs (LEDs, bulbs etc.) and motor outputs. Depending on the manufacturer and type they will have different numbers of inputs and outputs. Control boxes connect to the computer via either the serial (COM) or/and USB ports, and are built to protect the computer and interface from damage that may occur if the students incorrectly connect their devices.
Microcontrollers are low-cost PIC microchips which, when combined with the associated circutry, can control the same devices that control boxes can. Microcontrollers are great for Key Stage 3 and 4 where electronics forms part of the course.
With the supported microcontrollers, Flowol will compile and download the flowchart to the chip. The microcontroller can then be run remotely from the computer.
Click Microcontrollers to find out more about microcontrollers.
Visit official web site for detail:
The Arduino prototyping hardware platform (www.arduino.cc) has a large following of educators and robotics hobbyists around the world. Each Arduino board has the I/O sockets in a fixed position therefore allowing it to be extended with a variety of custom daughter-boards (called Shields).
2 minutes introduction on Flowol 4 with Arduino
Flowol 4 supports the Arduino Uno, Arduino Leonardo and the Arduino Duemilanove (with either the ATmega328p or 168 microcontrollers). There are also many Arduino-compatible boards made by other companies (e.g. Freeduino and DFRobot boards). Flowol supports many compatible boards with a 16MHz resonator.
The flowchart can be run in Flowol while the Arduino board is connected (online mode). Flowol can also compile and download the flowchart to be run remotely on the Arduino.
Flowol flowcharts can contain multiple Start symbols which run in parallel. Flowol 4 can download programs with several parallel flowcharts to run remotely on the Arduino.