Sphero® Launches the ‘Sphero Global Challenge’, the Company’s First Annual International Robotics and Design Competition

Sphero, the industry leader in edtech programmable robots and STEAM-based educational tools, announced today that registration for the Sphero Global Challenge, its first robotics, invention and design competition for kids around the world, is now open.

Robotics competitions are a unique opportunity for kids, and are designed not only to focus on the technical proficiencies gained through programming and coding but also to build on the important ‘soft skills’ kids gain through STEAM.

BOULDER, COLO. (PRWEB) AUGUST 25, 2020

Sphero, the industry leader in edtech programmable robots and STEAM-based educational tools, announced today that registration for the Sphero Global Challenge, its first robotics, invention and design competition for kids around the world, is now open.

The Sphero Global Challenge is the ultimate STEAM competition and an opportunity for kids to go deeper with computational thinking, engineering, and programming skills. Teams of all abilities are encouraged to work together to identify problems and develop solutions in different, real-world scenarios. Through this challenge, kids will work to accomplish their goals in various events that they will submit virtually to qualify for the Sphero World Championship in Spring 2021.

“We’re excited to offer a robotics, invention and design competition that highlights Sphero’s dedication to collaborative STEAM learning from anywhere in the world,” says Paul Copioli, Sphero CEO. “Robotics competitions are a unique opportunity for kids, and are designed not only to focus on the technical proficiencies gained through programming and coding but also to build on the important ‘soft skills’ kids gain through STEAM, such as collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking.”

TAKE FLIGHT WITH THREE UNIQUE STEAM EVENTS
The Sphero Global Challenge comprises three unique events. Teams can compete in one event or up to all three with one $75 USD registration fee.

littleBits Invent 4 Good: Mission Earth
Use littleBits and their Invention Cycle to solve problems facing the Earth right now. Kids will unleash their inner engineer as they invent a solution to an issue of their choice. In this event, kids can practice collaborating and innovating as they tackle a real-world problem.

BOLT: Space Mission
Take flight in the BOLT Space Mission. During this event, kids can put their programming and engineering skills to work as they navigate through five challenges. Not only is this an opportunity to build STEAM skills, but it’s also a chance for them to collaborate, solve problems, and create.

RVR + littleBits: Mars Mission
In RVR + littleBits Mars Mission, kids can use their coding and engineering skills to complete five challenges. Throughout this event, they’ll have opportunities to build their collaboration, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills as they work to reach solutions.

GEAR UP FOR THE CHALLENGE
In conjunction with the Sphero Global Challenge launch, new competition-ready Sphero and littleBits products are now available to make getting started in the competition even simpler.

New: littleBits STEAM+ Class Pack
The littleBits STEAM+ Class Pack is the ultimate STEAM learning toolkit, containing 240 Bits, 10 newly designed durable storage containers, printed teacher support materials and 40+ standards-aligned lessons to engage the entire class.

New: littleBits STEAM+ Kit
The littleBits STEAM+ Kit contains 24 Bits, a newly designed durable storage container, printed teacher support materials, and 40+ hours of standards-aligned lessons to engage up to four students at a time.

New: Sphero Code Mat – Space & Soccer
This two-sided activity mat, with new Space & Soccer themes, offers a simple, accessible way to learn block-based coding, basic math principles, and collaborative problem-solving with any round Sphero robot. The new Code Mat comes with three sets of 10 double-sided coding cards that provide guided, hands-on coding lessons.

New: Sphero RVR littleBits Topper Kit
Sphero RVR + littleBits Topper Kit combines the best of Sphero with the best of littleBits in an easy, approachable kit that allows a user to fully utilize RVR’s onboard capabilities with littleBits adaptability to create unique inventions.

New: Sphero Craft Pack
A one-stop-shop for all the crafting accessories needed for Sphero Global Challenge projects. With over 31 different items and hundreds of materials, the Craft Pack was designed with both Sphero robots and littleBits in mind.

TAKE THE CHALLENGE HOME
The Sphero Global Challenge is committed to inspiring the creators of tomorrow, wherever that might be, even in blended, remote, or at-home learning scenarios. Learn more about resources and opportunities for solo teams or virtual meetings to complete the Sphero Global Challenge during the COVID-19 pandemic in our Sphero Global Challenge at-home guide.

To learn more about the Sphero Global Challenge and how to register a team, please visit https://sphero.com/pages/global-challenge.

ABOUT SPHERO:
Sphero inspires the creators of tomorrow through remarkably cool, programmable robots, electronic building blocks, and educational tools that transform the way kids learn and create through coding, science, music, and the arts. Sphero goes #BeyondCode and drives kids to turn their imagination into reality. The skills kids unlock through play-based learning prepare them to thrive, no matter what subject or career they pursue. Based in Boulder, CO, Sphero has become the #1 STEAM-based learning solutions company, loved by millions of parents, kids, and educators worldwide. Learn more at sphero.com.

KinderLab Robotics Announces KIBO Resources and Curriculum to Support Blended and Distance Learning for Early Childhood

WALTHAM, MASS. (PRWEB) JUNE 02, 2020

KinderLab Robotics today announced the availability of resources and curriculum to support blended and distance learning using KIBO, the hands-on, screen-free STEAM robotics kit. Even during school closures in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, schools can use KIBO to support age-appropriate STEAM learning and family engagement.

KinderLab’s new curriculum bundle enables teachers to incorporate KIBO into a distance- or blended-learning model for creative STEAM education both at home and at school. The bundle is supported by professional development that explains how to teach remotely with KIBO, as well as how to support parents using KIBO at home.

Jason Innes, the manager of training and curriculum development at KinderLab Robotics, Inc., said, “As we respond to changes to the structure of school, we need to hold onto what we know works in early childhood education. Hands-on manipulatives, playful learning, and student collaboration all remain vitally important. By providing students with access to KIBO during school closures and remote learning, schools can teach in a developmentally appropriate way while promoting connection between students, parents, peers, and schools. KIBO, along with curriculum and professional development from KinderLab, is a powerful foundation for early childhood remote learning.”

KinderLab has created a range of resources to help schools and districts incorporate the benefits of hands-on, screen-free robotics and respond to the uncertainty of how school will look in the fall. These include:

  • A new whitepaper called Connecting with KIBO, which outlines the benefits of providing access to robotics for young children and models for how to teach screen-free computer science and coding despite school closures. The whitepaper includes sample lessons and suggestions for using KIBO regardless of the setting: remote learning by videoconference, blended learning in reduced-occupancy classrooms, and parent-facilitated learning at home.
  • A webinar on June 3rd called How Can I Use KIBO in Blended or Distance Learning? Attendees will hear from two leading STEM educators from Boston Public Schools and The Agnes Irwin School on their practical suggestions and concrete advice for incorporating KIBO into a distance- or blended-learning model.
  • For schools considering implementation of a home-based KIBO rotation program, KinderLab has created a convenient package of curriculum and professional development. The KIBO Blended Learning Curriculum Bundle, priced at $499, supports five KIBOs when rotating between students. This collection of teaching materials supports teacher-led, child-directed, and parent-supported playful learning. One hour of live video training is included, giving teachers the preparation they need to implement this model.

In early childhood, engagement with physical materials remains essential. With the school closures caused by COVID-19, teachers and parents around the country have seen that long videoconferences or purely screen-based lessons are not developmentally appropriate for young children. KIBO is a robot kit specifically designed for early childhood, so children program their robots with “tangible code” made of wooden blocks. Because KIBO is entirely screen-free, they engage in learning STEAM concepts through physical play and creative self-expression.

A distance learning program with KIBO can also be based on recorded lessons and demonstrations by the teacher, with children engaging in movement activities and unplugged coding games. KIBO’s standards-aligned curriculum can be adapted to work while students are at home using video lessons prerecorded by teachers, interactive videoconferences with teachers and peers, and parent-supervised home projects. Some lessons can be done without the physical robot, but the richest learning comes from hands-on engagement with KIBO, using robot kits made available for use at home. Supported by their parents and caregivers, children can play, imagine, and create, then share their creations with their peers to maintain engagement and connection.

“Many students lack reliable access to internet or computing resources at home,” Innes concluded. “Providing these families with access to KIBO is an important move toward equity in learning across our community. We think of KIBO as ‘1:1 for Pre-K–2,’ putting age-appropriate learning technology into students’ hands to be used with teacher support and parent engagement. By encouraging parents to take on the role of co-learner, we help address parents’ anxiety as well as promote deeper bonds—between parents and students, and between parents and schools.”

About KIBO – The Playful STEAM Robot

KIBO is a hands-on, playful robot kit that allows young children aged 4–7 to build, program, decorate, and bring their own robot to life without requiring a smartphone, tablet, or computer. It is an open platform on which students can envision and create their own robot. With art and engineering, students transform KIBO into imagined animals, vehicles, storybook characters, and more. Students plan a coding sequence using wooden programming blocks, then scan their sequence with the built-in barcode scanner, press its button—and the robot comes alive.
When children build, code, and decorate their own robot, they perceive it as play, but they are learning invaluable STEAM skills. Not only are these hands-on experiences inherently rewarding, but they help children understand the technology in their world and can even improve their future job prospects.

About KinderLab Robotics

KinderLab Robotics is the creator of the award-winning KIBO, a playful educational STEAM robot kit based on 20 years of child development research with thousands of children, teachers, and parents. Developed specifically for teachers by Dr. Marina Umaschi Bers at Tufts University, KIBO is currently used in 60+ countries and has proven efficacy in helping kids learn STEAM—and getting them excited about it! KinderLab offers a complete suite of teaching materials that help integrate STEAM elements into a wide range of curricula, including art, cultural studies, and reading literacy.

For more information, please visit KinderLabRobotics.com.

Sony’s New KOOV Educator Kit Makes Science and Technology Learning Accessible to Everyone

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — February 14, 2018—Sony Electronics today announced its unveiling of the KOOV Educator Kit, an all-in-one coding, robotics and design kit that combines digital coding with physical building to teach the next generation of problem solvers and innovators. Reflecting Sony’s commitment to both technology innovation and quality science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) education, KOOV is designed to help cultivate students’ collaboration and problem solving skills, which have become critically important in 21st century learning.

Studies show that 65 percent of kids entering primary school today will work in jobs that do not exist yet,* and that there will be 4.4 million computer and IT jobs in the USA by 2024.** STEAM-focused education helps children develop the abilities they need for a technology-driven world. To meet the marketplace’s growing demand for these skills, KOOV helps students develop their creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and communication abilities. KOOV was created to make STEAM learning tools accessible to all students. By using inclusive colors, a shareable design and the goal of building a foundation for future STEAM learning, KOOV serves as a ready-made, easy-to-use resource for teachers, students and parents.

“KOOV is a dynamic educational tool to help pave the road for tomorrow’s creative geniuses,” said Mike Fasulo, president and chief operating officer of Sony Electronics.” As a technology company, Sony depends on the next generation of talented engineers and artists to carry our industry forward. Exposing students to engaging science and technology projects during their formative years encourages them to embrace these subjects.”

KOOV is made up of over 300 building blocks and accessories, along with a plethora of sensors, motors, LEDs and more. The KOOV Educator Kit includes the KOOV App, which features more than 30 hours of easy-to-follow educational content via its Learning Course. The KOOV Learning Course offers a great starting point for students to begin learning key concepts in coding, building and design. This educational course introduces the different electrical components that KOOV uses and provides students an overview of how those parts work and how to use Scratch-based coding to control them. The KOOV Educator Kit also comes with 23 pre-designed, pre-coded “Robot Recipes” ranging from simple structures to complex animals and vehicles. These recipes enable students to start building right away and quickly develop the skills needed to create their own original robots. The Robot Recipes showcase what can be done with KOOV, giving young learners the inspiration they need to move ahead and make their own unique creations from scratch.

Designed for children ages eight and up, the KOOV Educator Kit allows students to build on core concepts that they will learn over time and create increasingly complex robots as they go. Once a student masters the basic concepts and skills, they can use their imagination to create an infinite number of robotic combinations.

KOOV is flexible enough for students to use for independent study or in a structured setting led by an educator. One KOOV Educator Kit can accommodate up to five students. The Educator Kit offers curriculum-aligned lesson plans, step- by-step teacher guides, and student progress reports. In addition, KOOV provides class management features to give educators the tools to quickly implement KOOV-based learning into any classroom. KOOV will be available for pre-order beginning February 14, 2018, and products are expected to start shipping in late March 2018. For more information please visit: https://www.sony.com/koov

Sources:
*World Economic Forum Future of Jobs report, 2016
**Bureau of Labor and Statistics

 

About Sony Electronics Inc. Sony Electronics is a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America and an affiliate of Sony Corporation (Japan), one of the most comprehensive entertainment companies in the world, with a portfolio that encompasses electronics, music, motion pictures, mobile, gaming and financial services. Headquartered in San Diego, California, Sony Electronics is a leader in electronics for the consumer and professional markets. Operations include research and development, engineering, sales, marketing, distribution and customer service. Sony Electronics creates products that innovate and inspire generations, such as the award-winning Alpha Interchangeable Lens Cameras and revolutionary high-resolution audio products. Sony is also a leading manufacturer of end-to-end solutions from 4K professional broadcast and A/V equipment to industry leading 4K Ultra HD TVs. Visit http://www.sony.com/news for more information.

Two Bit Circus Launches Kickstarter Campaign for New Maker Kit That Combines ART and STEM to Inspire Creativity in Young Inventors

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Two Bit Circus, an engineering entertainment company, today released a new survey report highlighting the gender gap in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math)-based activities for children, revealing art as the key entry point to STEM, especially for girls.

Two Bit Circus recently surveyed an audience of more than 500 parents to understand gender differentiators in how children play and learn in relation to STEM/STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, math) activities. The report uncovers key insights on children’s educational interests and preferences for extracurricular activities and also shows a lack of awareness for STEM/STEAM in general. In fact, 47 percent of parents are unfamiliar with STEM/STEAM toys such as chemistry sets, microscopes, Arduinos, etc. And surprisingly both boys and girls share similar levels of interest in science and math in school, but girls are far more likely to prefer arts and crafts inside and outside of school than boys. This points to why there has been such a strong push for STEAM in order to help close the gender gap in STEM.

Additional key findings from the STEM vs. STEAM: The Gender Gap report include:

  • Parents of both male and female children equally report that their child’s favorite STEAM subject in school is either math (26%) or science (30%)
  • 41% of parents with boys say their child shows the most interest in technology/computing activities outside of school compared to only 18% of parents with girls
  • 45% of parents with girls report their child shows the most interest in art outside of school compared to only 10% of parents with boys
  • 62% of parents say that their child never participates in STEM extracurricular activities outside of school

To drive momentum for the STEAM movement and blend creativity, curiosity and critical thinking to inspire the next generation of inventors, Two Bit Circus is launching a Kickstarter campaign to support the creation of Oomiyu, a paper craft and technology kit. By allowing beginner inventors to build a fun, customized and interactive paper craft robotic owl, kids get hands-on experience with basic mechanical principles, electronics and programming that combined creates a unique STEAM experience. This maker kit is designed to bring art alive through creative innovation, combining art with STEM for a well-rounded and engaging creativity platform.

“Not only does Oomiyu foster a sense of excitement for STEAM by building creative confidence and curiosity in children, it also helps develop critical thinking skills and makes technology more appealing for creative and analytical thinkers alike,” said Two Bit Circus CEO and Co-founder, Brent Bushnell. “By creating this holistic STEAM-based kit, we hope to bring out the makers we know are hidden in every child.”

Oomiyu, a customizable platform, allows children to build, design, customize and program a paper creature to move, respond and emote to various stimuli. A companion mobile app and open source software extend the possibilities even further. Simple connectors make it easy to add new features and the included Arduino 101 packs powerful features like Bluetooth low-energy (enables easy connection to other devices and the internet) and machine learning (enables other pattern matching behaviors).

Also included in the maker kit are off-the-shelf components like LEDs, motors and paper patterns. The new Oomiyu maker kit offers a unique balance of design elements combined with more technical aspects of personalized programming for a craft that lives beautifully with technology.

This crowd-sourced funding campaign hopes to reach its goal of $72,921 USD* within the next 30 days, or about 500 units sold. The cost of Oomiyu is $150.

For more information about Oomiyu visit the Kickstarter campaign page.

About Two Bit Circus

Two Bit Circus is a location-based entertainment company creating the future of fun. The team of artists, inventors, educators and performers builds social games and experiences that aim to inspire, engage and reinvent the way people play. For more information, visit www.twobitcircus.com or follow @TwoBitCircus.