Some Of The Latest Coding Products, Like Kibo and Root, Start Teaching Coding At The Preschool Level
We’ve said it a lot here at nibletz.com and we’re going to continue to hear that, in the coming years, coding will be as prevalent in schools as learning Spanish or French. That’s because there are more American jobs in STEM and coding careers than in the automotive industry and that trend will continue to rise at almost hockey stick growth.
Just ahead of ISTE 2017 last year, the International Society For Technology in Education published a book by Wisconsin teacher Heidi Williams. The book entitled; No-Fear Coding: Computational Thinking Across the K-5 Curriculum, presents a rationale for introducing coding to young students — to set them up for future success and prepare them for more advanced coding in middle and high school.
Two university projects out of the Cambridge Massachusetts region, Harvard and Tufts, validated the need to start teaching coding at an early age, even earlier than kindergarten.
KinderLab Robotics, born out of a university project at Tufts, emerged from the need to make Dr. Marina Umaschi Bers’ on new technologies for young children more widely available. KinderLab Robotics was born when Dr. Bers and a friend of hers in the robotics industry, Mitch Rosenberg decided to create a robotics kit for younger children. That robotics kit goes by the name Kibo.
Two miles away Zee Dubrovsky, Raphael Cherney and Harvard University computer science Professor Radhika Nagpal were also working on a robotics project geared towards younger children called Root.
Both companies validate the need to teach coding, robotics and problem solving to children as young as four. It’s that age where basic skills are engrained in the brain and kids are free to experiment with learning through trial and error.
With Kibo kids assemble the robot themselves with colorful wheels, bases, parts and coding blocks. Kids than use a barcode scanner built into Kibo to program him. He can draw, move around, carry things and more. With Kibo there’s really no wrong way to program him, kids just might need to change the program to do make it do what they want it to do. That speaks to the foundational core of coding.
Root will come assembled early this summer and ready for kids as young as four to program him. Root can dance, move, draw and more. Root is designed to continue to teach kids programming from ages 4 and up. At the earliest levels, kids use a picture version of block language to program him to do things. As kids get older they move to a custom designed block language and then on to text coding.
Coding isn’t for nerds anymore.
There was a time where we would believe that kids who wanted to learn coding at the elementary school level were like Young Sheldon. That’s not the case anymore. Robots have made coding fun but more importantly with coding, kids are learning valuable problem solving skills that transcend well beyond robots, computers and STEM.
You can talk with KinderLab Robotics and Root Robotics at FETC 2018 this week. Find Root at booth #635 and KinderLab Robotics at booth #2312. Find Root Robotics online here and KinderLab Robotics here.