Screen-Free Ed Robot Launched for Early Learners
- By Dian Schaffhauser
A STEAM education company has released a screen-free robot for teachers to use with the youngest learners. Makeblock's $150 "mTiny" can help children learn basic programming and incorporates 300 sound effects, 10 emotions and multiple kinds of track movements.
The robot pairs with a joystick that acts as a tap pen controller and operates through the use of a story mat made up of interlocking pieces as well as command cards that can be ordered in any number of ways. Students tap on the cards to enter sequential, directional and emotional instructions. The mat teaches the kids how programming works by moving the robot through pre-set routes and having it interact or react to the mat story.
Teachers get access to study packs that offer lessons in math, English, the arts and music.
"mTiny offers a fresh experience of learning computational thinking and more," said Makeblock Founder and CEO, Jasen Wang, in a statement. "In lieu of having them parked in front of a screen, mTiny encourages children to be observant and interactive with their parents, teachers and friends."
The company already produces robots and software for older students, including mBot, an entry-level educational robot for students ages eight and older, and mBot Ranger, for ages 10 and older.
Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @schaffhauser.