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Posted By christina On May 4, 2020

Wall Street Journal: The Best Robot Toys for Building Kids’ STEM Skills

In this article, the author discusses how robot toys and kits help “teach children problem-solving skills—ones they’ll need as they grow into adults in a world run by machines”.

The article reads in part:

“There are still reasons to buy robot kits for these worldly kids. Building a friendly bot-toy helps children adapt even more readily to a changing world and develop STEM skills—in science, technology, engineering and math. It also pushes them to think creatively and hone life skills. “Coding by itself teaches you how to break the problem into steps and how to approach it methodically,” said Vishal Raina, CEO and founder of YoungWonks, a coding school for children.

Nevertheless, there are still reasons to buy robot kits for these worldly kids. Building a friendly bot-toy helps children adapt even more readily to a changing world and develop STEM skills— in science, technology, engineering and math. It also pushes them to think creatively and hone life skills. “Coding by itself teaches you how to break the problem into steps and how to approach it methodically,” said Vishal Raina, CEO and founder of YoungWonks, a coding school for children. “That kind of skill is going to help you in anything you do in life.”

‘You can see the kids’ excitement in their whole bodies, in their eyes.’

Competitions teach students collaboration and conflict-resolution, on top of STEM skills. That said, Marina Umaschi Bers, chair of the department of child study and human development at Tufts University, who has developed her own robot toy system for kids called KIBO, argues that the value of building and coding bots comes from the creative process of iteration, and that outcomes-based activities like competitions can overlook that value.

She divides the glut of robot toys into more black-and-white categories: There are “playpen” robots that are fun, but teach few skills and require little input from the user, like the WowWee Miposaur, a futuristic dino that lets kids play fetch. But she prefers “playground” robots that require creativity and enable collaboration…

Whatever the end goal, the process of creating becomes the reward, said Mr. Raina. When kids find “a solution to something they have never worked on, the level of excitement that you can see in their whole body, in their eyes, their expression…it’s an incredible feeling just to watch them,” he said. “That is the high you are going to give them.”

That high, and the skills they develop, will serve them throughout their strange, futuristic lives. They’ll know they’re capable of overcoming obstacles of all shapes and sizes—even if robots will be on hand to do much of the work anyway.”

Read on for the full article.

Posted By christina On May 2, 2020

Thrive Global: Start with a Strong, Clear Vision

As a part of the series about “Lessons From Inspirational Women in STEM and Tech,” KinderLab’s co-founder and Chief Scientist, Dr. Marina Umaschi Bers, was interviewed. Some highlights from the interview: Can you tell us what brought you to this specific career path? While I was doing my undergrad degree in Social Communication at Buenos Read More

Posted By christina On April 15, 2020

MIT Technology Review: A Robot to Teach Coding – And Build Character

In this article, Dr. Marina Bers, an MIT alumni, describes her career journey, starting with working with Seymour Papert at MIT to today, as a leading researcher in children’s development and learning. The article reads in part: Now at Tufts University, Bers leads the DevTech Research Group, examining the role new technologies can play in Read More

Posted By christina On March 27, 2020

Getting Smart: How Hands-On Robotics Brings Science Lessons to Life

In this article, two creative educators from Massachusetts, Barbara Tennyson from Needham Public Schools, and Katie Blagden from Beverly Public Schools, share their use of KIBO in bringing their life sciences instructions to life. They describe that is is sometimes difficult to incorporate hands-on learning into earth and life science units. Many life science units Read More

Posted By christina On

USA Today: 32 Incredible Coding Toys That Every Kid Will Want

This USA Today article contains a round up of 32 toys, games, and kits that are aimed at teaching children how to code. We are thrilled to be part of this great group of products! You can also view a full review of KIBO. During this time, more and more parents are looking for novel Read More