Root Robotics Has Created The First Robot That Teaches Kids To Code From Ages 5-Up
This year at ISTE 2018 in Chicago we’re going to see quite a few robotics companies. Robots are a key player in STEM/STEAM education. From creating robots to coding with them, they’re a fun way to develop critical thinking skills, coding and programming skills.
What we’ve seen at ISTE and many other edtech conferences are a wide range of companies that are trying to be all things to all people. There are several robotics companies geared towards early elementary students that naturally, students in grades 3 and up would quickly tire of. On the other end of the spectrum are robots that are geared towards older students, which younger students would quickly get frustrated with.
At CES 2018 in Las Vegas, earlier this year, our 10 year old edtech reporter Tatum, met Zee Dubrovsky the co-founder of Root Robotics. Zee explained that their robot, Root, was designed to start teaching kids coding skills as early as age 5 but that Root’s programming capacity grew as students skillsets grew. Meaning that Root was perfect for kids ages 5 and up.
They’ve divided the Root experience into three levels. Level 1 is a graphic coding level where kids program Root using a series of commands that are represented by pictures on the accompanying program app. It’s a precursor to block languages like Scratch and Blockly and teaches the foundations of problem solving essential for kids.
Dubrovsky and his team want to make sure that along with coding they are teaching kids to have a career skill. “One thing we’ve found is that parents want their kids to learn to code, but many can’t teach coding themselves”. Coding is a language and as we’ve talked about time and time again, in the next few years we will see coding as prevalent as Spanish and French in schools. The foundation to any good language learning is to develop those fundamental skills as early as possible.
This leads to level 2 which is a drag and drop Block language custom developed by the Root team. In this level, naturally Root can do more and kids can code more. They can drag, drop and move coding blocks around until Root does exactly what they want him to do.
Another major benefit to a robot like Root in the classroom is that students can become familiar with Root in kindergarten and first grade and then even fifth grade science teachers can integrate Root back into the curriculum with a certain level of familiarity and confidence.
Root Robotics will be making their first appearance at ISTE this year at ISTE 2018, to coincide with their official launch. Check out Tatum’s interview video from CES above and visit with them at ISTE 2018 in Chicago, June 24-27th, booth #380 and online at codewithroot.com