We just got crowdfunded !

We are so but so happy! Plobot will go into production.

Results of the campaign
Results of the campaign

Our website got re-directed during our pre-campaign for quite a bit of time already. But we plan to revamp it as a communication channel with our backers. Soon we will be publishing the ups and downs of running a crowdfunding campaign.

http://ks.plobot.com

For the ones that missed the campaign, don’t worry because we will keep taking pre-orders while we get the Kickstarter rewards produced.

Thanks to all of you! We will be sending joy to hundreds of houses and schools in the following months. Stay put!

Busting some myths about coding

Do these myths prevent you from learning to code?

1. I have to be an engineer after I learn to code.

No, learning coding is all about inspiring creativity, developing critical thinking, training logic, and building up your skills for the future.

2. I have to be good at math to learn coding.

If you want to specialize in programming, then you have to be good at math. If you just want to build something cool for yourself or learn how computers work, even basic coding will already get the ball rolling for you.

3. I have to spend a lot of money to learn coding.

There are tons of free tutorials online for you to learn coding anytime, anywhere.

4. Okay, learning coding is important. Does it mean that a kid has an inherent disadvantage by not learning to code?

If you don’t learn now, it doesn’t mean that your kid can no longer keep up in the future. If you have extra time, then you can let your kid try.  If your kids like playing computer games, transform that into a passion for making computer games on their own. Isn’t that more interesting?

5. I can’t find any resources to get my kid started.

These days, there are already a ton of resources to get started with coding even for the youngest learners.

For more advanced young learners:
– Google – Blockly Games
– Code.org
– Scratch: Developed by MIT. Free. Only need a browser to learn coding. From ages 8-16, but suitable for all ages. Used by many schools.

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Scratch

For younger kids and coding newbies:
– ScratchJr: For 2-5 year-olds. Blocks are even more simplified. Storybook-style page flipping. Can be used to tell bedtime stories to kids. They released an iPad version in 2014 to encourage parents to accompany kids to play while learning code.

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Scratch Jr.

You can learn coding even without a computer. You can also learn coding through picture books! You can also use board games, mazes, and books. The point is to train kids’ logical thinking.

 

picturebooks
Picture books

Plobot is an educational toy robot designed around these principles – making coding fun and accessible to everyone. Check it out here.

Can you speak the language of code? Here’s a 2-minute guide to get started.

This post was inspired by the Learn to Code article on Parenting.com.tw.

Programming looks scary! Is it even something kids can learn?

We hear all these terms – C++, Java, Object oriented programming, Resource allocation… words that sound like some sort of alien language.

If your math is not good, can you still learn it?

If you can’t do it, can your kid even learn it?

 

You thought programming was this…

 

complexcoding

 

When in reality, it could be as simple as this:

 

codestudio

Looks fun, doesn’t it?

The key is to use the principles of “Play” to learn programming.

Here’s what Code.org founder Hadi Partovi recommends to coding newbies:

“When you’re learning a language, always start with the visual tools.”

The picture you see above is Code Studio by Code.org. As you can see, it uses visual blocks to write programs. These ‘drag and drop’ tools enable learners to quickly pick up the logic behind programming. Each block represents a different function, turning programming into a puzzle with each block building on top of the other.

Newbies can learn the fundamentals of coding like loops and conditionals. Instead of spending so much time memorizing all the syntax, they can simply connect the blocks. It lowers the barriers to entry for programming, and makes it more fun for beginners who are just trying to understand the principles and concepts behind the language of code.

Plobot is an educational toy robot designed around these principles – making coding fun and accessible to everyone. Check it out here.

5 edtech articles you missed last week

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At Plobot, we thrive at the intersection of education and technology, and we’re always on the lookout for the most interesting #edtech articles to share with you. Here are the top five we found last week:

Opening Minds on Ed Tech (by Bill Gates)

Every teacher deserves the chance to be phenomenal… Software will also help identify which students are having trouble and adjust for their own learning style, leaving teachers more time to focus on the kids who need extra personal attention.

What Robotics Can Teach Kids

“Robotics can also be a fun stepping-stone for getting a child interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) subjects that can lead to amazing careers later in life.”

What skills do employers value most in graduates?

Chief among these are creativity, resourcefulness, team-working, innovation, resilience, IT skills, and innovation. They are also the skills which will future-proof graduates against the changing nature of skilled work.

Teaching kids to code is the new teaching kids Spanish

“Coding is a language,” said Ring, who got the idea from his 14-year-old son. “It is a global language, more global than French or German or Spanish, or for that matter even English.”

Why should kindergarteners code?

Although careers in tech or STEM fields aren’t right for everyone, advocates argue that CS and STEM skills can also encourage creativity and innovation, as well as critical thinking that can be applied across school subjects, and later, industries.

Interested to know more about our learning solutions for kids? Get in early here.

How will technology impact young learners in the classroom?

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“If I introduce technology to the classroom, I’m afraid that it could just be a distraction.”

“Why do we need technology in the classroom in the first place?”

“Teaching tech skills is important, but I’m not sure how to approach young learners.”

These were just some of the concerns from teachers who attended the “Educational technology for Children” workshop at the International Schools Conference last week. We all know that proficiency in tech is no longer negotiable and that computer literacy is now as important as math or reading.

The question is how to do it effectively.

Most teachers are afraid that technology diverts the attention of kids. It’s challenging enough to sustain a six year-old’s attention in a traditional classroom environment, what more if they have screens and projectors to play with?

Open to learn, free to play

What we’ve learned from our experience in running after-school classes for international schools is that physical learning tools like robots and building blocks can deliver the best of both worlds, giving students more freedom while at the same time building a stronger connection with the teacher.

Instead of hiding behind a screen, a student is fully engaged and open to learn, with the physical learning tool opening up the kid to the teacher’s discussions and the activities of the other kids.

The teacher can then act more as a facilitator, providing the kids with general directions and hands-on guidance when they need it.

Teachers we talk to are often surprised at what the kids come up with at the end of a class, given that they’re learning at their own pace in their own way.

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Principles, not mechanics

During the workshop, one teacher raised a very important point. By the time the kids are working-age, all the tools they learn now will have long been obsolete. How does technological education stay relevant?

Another teacher responded that we have to go beyond the mechanics and teach students the principles, the logic, and the way to think. It’s not about the exact syntax of a code, but rather the way learners sequence steps to solve problems.

With this broader scope, teachers find that there are more fitting tools at their disposal to enhance kids’ logical thinking and problem solving skills.

Technological education and coding literacy has a huge impact on math, logic, and even visual-spatial skills. By introducing malleable minds to these skills through the means of technology, children will be better prepared to tackle future problems in their chosen field of interest.

Want to learn more about our teaching tools for young learners ? Get an early look here.

 

 

 

 

Why is play important?

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Child’s play is a spontaneous behavior and typical of the childhood. When children play, they live this activity to the fullest. Playing is their peculiar way of knowing and learning, they learn to discover and experience and how to interact with people and objects.

The game has a therapeutic value. It helps to release tension and eliminate the retained energy. Through play, children can express their emotions. This is a great value for the proper emotional development of our kids, play helps them express their feelings. Besides spending a fun time, to create unforgettable memories in children the act of playing has the following benefits:

  • It allows kids to develop a cheerful attitude towards life.
  • Provides a gateway in and out of reality. Allows the kid be free to decide in fictitious situations without consequence
  • Help to make a test of reality, because it allows be another voluntarily or be yourself acting in a different way or in other circumstances
  • It helps to be active, make decisions, be involved and be motivated.
  • It facilitates the encounter with others and with the environment. It is one of the social events par excellence
  • It stimulates creativity and helps to discover their capabilities.
  • It develops intellectual activities. Reading to children from an early age can be beneficial for them. Also, using educational games, like Plobot, help with the learning process.

Shanghai Competitive Intelligence Forum 2015

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We are happy to announce that our CEO, Rodolfo Cossovich (Rudi), participated as a speaker at the “Shanghai Competitive Intelligence Forum“, SCIF 2015, this past October 22 in Shanghai Library.

This is one of the most influential international events of its kind in China and Asia. “Innovation, Entrepreneurship, Maker & Competitive Intelligence” was the theme of this year, to encourage entrepreneurship and innovation in the region.

We are so proud that Plobot and Rudi were participants of this.

So, Let’s play!

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How to decrease your kids’ screen time

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Activities you do in front of a screen, like watching TV, being on the computer, using the cell phone and playing video games, are called “Screen time”. On average, American children spend almost 3 hours a day watching TV, together along with other activities, they go from 5-7 hours in front of the screen.

So long in front of a screen, can cause children sleep problems, anxiety, attention problems and obesity. Therefore, doctors and experts recommend no screen time for children under 2 years, and only 1 to 2 hours of screen time for children over 2 years old.

So we’ll give you these tips to reduce the hours of screen time of your children:

  • Set the example, spend quality time with your kids and promote their interest for outdoor activities. 
  • Have no TV areas in the house, starting by their bedrooms.
  • Do not let your children eat while on the computer or watching TV. There is time for everything.
  • Introduce them to other activities such as board games, books, sports or puzzles.
  • Let them play with Plobots and learn to program! Joke aside, there are many tools to awake their interest for science without a screen.