One of the first stops we made at ISTE 2017 in San Antonio was Wonder Workshop. After checking them out online they were quickly on our 9 year old edtech reporter’s list of must see companies on day one. She wanted to meet Dot and Dash and see if they were all they were cracked up to be. And they are.
When Vikas Gupta, Saurabh Gupta and Mika Greaves came up with the idea for their company in 2012 they wanted to created a way to teach kids how to code in “kid speak”. To do this, they needed robots. They started with the robot pictured below, a kit robot that looks like it was put together in their garage. The robot could be programmed by adding different blocks to it. They went back to the drawing board.
“We wanted our product to have a low floor but a high ceiling. We knew that concepts are more concrete to kids when they are expressed in a tangible, real-world way” the company says.
The trio spent lots of times in kids homes learning what kids wanted in a robot. The original design looked too much like a car and girls didn’t like that. So the team went back to the drawing board, eventually shedding the wheels, and adding the eye. They were in business. They took what we know today as Dash and Dot to crowdfunding, selling $1.4M dollars worth of robots. Now they had the hardware, the teaching part, came next.
The edtech startup first started they went by the name Play-i, now everyone knows them as Wonder Workshop. They’ve taken Dot and Dash, and created free apps for smartphones, and tablets. The app allows kids to program Dot and Dash to do all kinds of things. At ISTE 2017 we saw them play the Xylophone and Wonder Workshop was running a basketball tournament at their booth to get in a drawing for free robots.
Teachers and schools can order Dot & Dash directly from Wonder Workshop as can parents. But they’re also available at Best Buy, Barnes and Noble and on amazon.com Check out Wonder Workshop’s website at makewonder.com