Kibo: Teaching Robotics To Kids
As our technology advances, STEM curriculum and technological literacy are increasingly important fields in the classroom that force students and teachers alike to adapt. But with such advanced and challenging topics, how do you start teaching? Last semester at Tufts University I took a class about the changing dynamics between technology and education in modern society. In this class we experimented with a new way to teach children about robotics, programming, and so much more. That project was KIBO.
Kibo: Teaching Robotics to kids
The Brooklyn Preschool of Science is a firm believer of utilizing thematic based units rooted in the sciences to teach all students in the most holistic of ways. These units of study are generally broken down into the life sciences and the physical sciences. We are beyond excited to announce the addition of KIBO, robotics for kids to our yearly curriculum. KIBO is a screen-free robot kit for our preschoolers. Using KIBO children will create, design, decorate and bring their own robot to life! It is an exciting opportunity to bring robotics and coding to BPOS so our young scientists can spark their interest in robotics and more specifically computational learning.
A Motion Kibo kit is being pitched to Kickstarter backers at US$219, and includes the robot body with two motor modules and two wheels, 12 wooden coding blocks and five cards to control the device's motion and sound. Other pledge levels include a deluxe kit with light, distance and sound sensors, 17 wooden blocks and 14 cards for $349, and an activity package for teaching robotics to small groups for $1,000.
The use of KIBO robots in the curriculum not only included the technology but also integrated it into the teaching target content. As such, robotics was used for interdisciplinary learning in all the STEAM subjects: science (sessions 3, 9, and 11), technology (sessions 1 through 15), engineering (sessions 1, 2, 5, 6, 14, and 15), arts (sessions 2, 5, 6, 7, 14, and 15), and mathematics (sessions 7 and 8). Moreover, the curriculum was developed using the Positive Technological Development (PTD) framework  recommended for educational programs that use new educational technologies, such as KIBO robotics. The PTD framework adds psychosocial and ethical educational components to the traditional cognitive ones in computer literacy and technology subjects. It encourages six behaviors in students: communication, collaboration, community building, content creation, creativity, and choice of conduct. Those behaviors were encouraged in the developed curriculum.
Three teachers out of four designed a final extra session with the robot. The session they designed not only included the technology but also integrated it into the target teaching content. Their designed sessions, though, were efficient but not disruptive; the training was rather a tool to empower them, to become familiar with a methodology to teach robotics according to well-researched methodologies, and to increase their confidence in integrating robotics into their day-to-day practice.