EdSurge: When Robots Teach Kids Computational Thinking—and Kindness

In this EdSurge article, authored by Bryan Flaig, the science and mathematics instructional coach for the Redwood City School District in Redwood City, CA, Bryan delves into merging computational skills with social-emotional development using programs like KIBO and ScrathJr.

Bryan continues, “One phrase we often use in our district is, “It’s not about the robot.” What we mean is that computer science is not about the device or software. It’s about what students are doing with technology to solve problems…the focus is on how they overcome challenges while finding the best way to express their creativity. It’s less important that they master all the different uses of the computer programming language.

While children are developing their coding skills, they are, simultaneously advancing their social-emotional development. I remember one student in particular who exemplified this type of growth. We were introducing KIBO, a robotics kit by KinderLab Robotics, to a class of Kindergarten students. A boy and a girl were working together, when the boy suddenly pulled the robot. “This is mine!” he shouted. A short game of tug-of-war ensued.

Flash-forward two months: I went back to visit the classroom, and the same boy was working with another group of children, a mix of boys and girls. At one point, he stopped, held the robot out, and said, “It’s your turn now.” I thought, “There we go. That’s what we’re hoping to see.” Not only were students learning about computer programming, but they were learning the social skills—like sharing and working with others—that will serve them just as importantly in the future.”

Read the full article – “When Robots Teach Kids Computational Thinking—and Kindness”