Kids’ Programmable Robots . . . Just In Time for Christmas

Ok, so I don’t think these will be available for purchase at Christmas time. But if we have the scratch when they do come out, I think I will be buying these for my kids. IEEE Spectrum reports:

These colorful robots are not only fun to play with—they can teach kids computer programming skills. That’s what Play-i, a Silicon Valley startup founded by engineers from Google, Apple, and Symantec, says about its robots, unveiled this week as part of a crowdsourcing campaign.

The idea of using robots to teach kids programming, math concepts, and problem solving is not new. In fact, it’s been more than 40 years since MIT educator Seymour Papert demonstrated the possibilities of hands-on learning with his Logo programming language and mobile machines known as “turtle robots.”

Over the years, numerous robotic toys and kits designed for kids came to market—most famously the LEGO Mindstorms set… But most of these products present a steep learning curve for kids (and parents!), and few are adequate for very young children.

Play-i, based in Mountain View, Calif., wants to see that change. It says its robots, Bo and Yana, can make programming fun and accessible for kids as young as 5 years old. The robots talk via Bluetooth LE with an iPad or other tablets, which Play-i says are the perfect interface for children to learn programming concepts in an engaging, intuitive way.

I’ve pointed out here, and here, and here how important programming skills are going to be for today’s kids and tomorrow’s workforce. It’s exciting and encouraging to see the ways to learn them continue to develop.

These Robots Will Teach Kids Programming Skills | IEEE Spectrum

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