New Play-i Robots bring Code to Life for All Students

Learning, Learning Innovations, Online & Blended, PreK-12

This past December marked the first ever #HourofCode, a campaign started by the great people at Code.org to help spread the word about the importance of learning to program durning National Computer Science Week. A complete success, millions of students participated in the #HourofCode, with many, many of them taking their first stab at coding ever.

How can we keep building this enthusiasm for learning to code with students? We need to find the right tools to help them gain a deeper understanding and stay engaged in learning to code. Giving kids the opportunity to get hands-on experience with coding is key to solidifying the commitment to learning to code- especially when working at the elementary level.

Just in time for next December’s Computer Science celebration – play-i’s new robots, Bo and Yana will be ready to take student programming to the next level. The concept of these two little devices is so adaptive they can be used by students anywhere from Kindergarten up to age 12+. For the youngest users, these robots provide a visual programming interface that weaves in music, stories and animation, personifying the code behind the visual interface. For age 8+ students can use the visual programming languages- MIT’s Scratch and Google’s Blockly, to program the robots and see the how their work on those platforms can translate to the real world. The most experienced students can jump in and write code to build applications for iOS and Android using their API.

Play-i is working with their manufacturing partners to get robots out as early as possible. Crowdfunding backers are in the first batch. If you pre-order now, your order will be in the second batch, which ships before Christmas 2014. Bo & Yana connect wirelessly using Bluetooth 4.0. Currently the visual interface for children works on iPhone 4S, iPhone5, iPhone5S, iPhone5C, iPad Air, iPad 3, IPad mini, iPod Touch (5th gen). The programming interface will be working on Android shortly. Current set of Android device with Bluetooth 4.0 support include Nexus 7 & 10, and Samsung Galaxy S3, S4, S4 Mini, Note 2 and Note 3.

Play-i was founded almost a year ago with one mission, “to make programming fun and accessible for every child.” Thanks to the input and help from hundreds of children and parents who played with the robots at different stages of development, the team truly believes that Bo & Yana can make a child’s world bigger by not only exposing them but integrating computer science into their world in a way that is completely tangible. Students that begin to code at a young age to create real products and build on those skills as they develop will not be afraid to take on computer science a core curriculum subject as the continue their education journey through high school, college and beyond.

Alison Anderson

Alison Anderson

Alison Anderson is a Media Specialist at The Madeleine School. Follow her on twitter at @tedrosececi.