Robots and Games That Teach Coding
The rise of the robots–they’ve taken over the exhibition halls of education conferences these days. Robots and games that teach coding and STEM skills are a big back to school trend.
Tynker. “We have been hard at work this summer to revamp the Tynker Educator experience to be super friendly regarding workflow, content, metrics, and privacy (less assigning and more intelligent feedback),” said Tynker co-founder and CEO Krishna Vedati.
Tynker is the leading game-based coding platform that has helped more than 60 million students start coding. The Mountain View-based company, which has raised $10.4 million in 3 rounds, acquired LMS Pythonroom in May.
Tynker’s platform now includes a new range of courses that serve high-school students, building on its strong coursework foundation for P-8 learners. New age content includes advanced python, augmented reality courses and enhanced STEM lessons that use coding. With Mattel, Tynker released a Barbie-themed Robotics course to encourage girls to pursue STEM.
With granular assessment behind the scenes, Tynker is able to provide students and teachers real-time information.
Tynker doesn’t sell robots, but Vedati argues that their coding games integrate better with other subjects.
Hetav Sanghavi, Wonder Workshop
Wonder Workshop makes Dash and Dot, clever bots that teach elementary kids coding, and Cue for middle grades. Lessons are aligned with the 4Cs and Code.org. Middle school lessons move from block-based to text-based coding.
A Dash six-pack is $875 and a Cue STEAM pack is $1800. Teachers get a Dash robot and 12 hours of online instruction for $350. State partnerships make bundles of the robots and professional development affordable for all schools.
The Wonder League Robotics Competition makes coding a team sport. Students deeply engaged in robotics and coding, worked in teams, and integrated their creativity.
Based in San Francisco and founded by Vikas Gupta and two other ITT grads in 2012, Wonder Workshop has raised $78 million in six rounds.
LittleBits (@littleBits) makes kits made of electronic building blocks that are color-coded, magnetic, and make complex tech simple and fun.
Lebanese founder Ayah Bdeir has a great story and gets a lot of press. The NYC-based company has raised $62.3 million in five rounds.
In April, the company announced littleBits Education Solutions, a design and training program that sends specialists to schools to build custom STEAM and coding solutions.
This month, LittleBits acquired DIY, an online community with an online STEM platform, jam.com.
Modular Robotics (@modrobotics) makes kits of modular magnetic blocks that can be assembled to create small self-powered robots. A kit of 20 Cubelets is about $500. A classroom set that could support four groups is about $1,400.
Co-founded 10 years ago by Eric Schweikardt CEO, the Boulder-based company has raised $10.6 million in five rounds.
With more tools to choose from every week, how to get started? Here are some tips for teachers who are looking for ways to integrate robotics into the classroom:
- Pick the right platform for you. Some robotics kits require many hours of building to get started, and others work right out of the box. Make sure to do your research before investing.
- Make use of existing content. Use lessons that come with the apps/robots or lesson plans that other teachers have created.
- Join the community on Twitter. There is a rich network of teachers who are actively helping each other out on Twitter. Some hashtags to follow are #csk8, #kidscancode, #kidscoding.
- Don’t be afraid to let students lead. After introducing the games or robots, let students design their own projects. Give advanced kids a chance to lead. It takes the pressure off you and helps lead to growth mindset if students can take charge of their own learning.
For more, see:
- Makerspaces: Engaging Students Through Creativity and Coding
- Smart Review | Code Car Kit by Let’s Start Coding
- NFL Players Helping Students Tackle Challenges of Tomorrow Through Coding
- How Can We Bring Coding into Authentic PBL?
- Friday Five: Robots, Rebels and Radical Markets
This blog was originally published on Forbes.
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Check out Coder bunnyz, a fun board game that teaches coding skills http://www.coderbunnyz.com
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