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DESIGNEDUCATIONALTECHNOLOGYTOY Blog

AWAKENING OF KIDS TO TECHNOLOGY WITH STEM TOYS

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Awakening of kids to technology with STEM toys, this is the case of Zowi a little intelligent robot which help children to discover how technology works.

Zowi is a project designed by bq who has proposed an evolutionary system developing this intelligent robot for the smaller. The main of bq is bringing Zowi to schools to allow children of ages 8 and up to learn code and programming while playing and put them into the world of technology safely while entertaining. Teaching at the same time that technology can be transparent, proximate and fun.

So, even being a toy it has an educational ecosystem with an extensive pedagogical pathway.

Zowi is an open source smart robot, which means that the physical ecosystem, the code and the app have all been made freely available so that anyone can understand it and modify it.

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This friendly robot  already knows how to do a few things when you take it from the box for the first time like walk, dance, dodge obstacles, emit sounds and make mouth gestures. So just pressing the three buttons of the back children can explore the basic functions.

Depending on the age of the child and their pace of learning the tasks can increase their complexity since Zowi adapts and  increase the difficulty progressively.

After play and explore with the firmware of the toy, children can start using the timeline to create easy sequences of movements, gestures and sounds. With this simple task kids can learn about sequential thinking.

Furthermore, in the app children can find different games and projects with theoretical lessons.

Afterwards, children can create and teach Zowi new things and they can do it using Bitbloq. Bitbloq is a simple an intuitive block-programming tool similar to Arduino but specially thought for kids, so it works with simple colour blocks which children can easily reprogram Zowi’s brain.

Children can also create tunes with the buzzer and program it so that it reacts to the sounds they want. In this way kids learn about conditionals and they can program with Bitbloq different functions to specific situations and also solve problems of the daily life.

One of the best things for awakening of kids to technology with STEM toys is that kids can dismantle Zowi to see what it’s like on the inside and add new sensors to be programmed on Bitbloq, allowing children being creators of their own robot.

So, once that children have opened Zowi they will find the controller board, the sensors and the actuator. Using a basic electronic kit they can compare and link Zowi’s components with the components of the kit, learning in this way the basics of electronic and technology.

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Later, children can connect again the elements with the controller board and reprogram the new skills of Zowi with Bitbloq.

But you can not just customize your robot from the inside, if you want you can also change the head of Zowi using a 3D printer and at the end, children can share their inventions and projects on a dedicated platform on Zowi’s website.

We found this a very interesting way for awakening of kids to technology with STEM toys. If you are thinking on an implementation of this educational toy you can find additional workshops for families to learn and engage with basic robotic learning.

TOY BlogDESIGNSOCIAL

A SUSTAINABLE SERVICE IN THE TOY MARKET

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Nothing is created, nothing is destroyed, everything is transformed according to the law of conservation of mass, but this principle does not only concern chemical reactions. In fact, it seems that the world of toys is experiencing a phase of change, or rather of adaptation to the new demands of the market, such as greater environmental sustainability throughout the entire life cycle of the product, but also of lighter and more efficient business models in line with a rapidly growing society. In this article we return to talk about this topic (if you missed the last article, you can find it here) and we present you a sustainable service in the toy market.

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AN ONLINE DATABASE OF SPARE PARTS FOR BROKEN TOYS

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It was 1995 when Toy Story, one of the most iconic cartoons in the entire history of animated cinema, was released in theaters, with its fantastic story of a reality where toys have a life of their own, feelings and goals to achieve. You will surely remember (and if you don’t, you can re-watch the movie…I suppose you have seen it at least once) that the main antagonist of the story was a child with unkind ways, the Skinhead look and a black t-shirt with a prominent skull: Sid. This character, even with his ‘bad’ label, has always fascinated me for his maker side; in fact, his greatest occupation was that of destroying toys (often his sister’s) to create new ones by assembling parts without apparent logic, but with surprising results. So, I believe that behind Toy Rescue there is a grown Sid who understood his mistakes of youth and tried to direct his skills towards a noble purpose; Seriously, the idea of ​​an online database of spare parts for broken toys is as simple as it is innovative and for this we have to tell you about it.

DESIGNEDUCATIONALTOY Blog

A SERVICE TO PREVENT SOCIAL UNREST IN PRIMARY SCHOOL

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The complexity of the modern world is clear for everyone, it often displaces us, catches us unprepared and puts us in front of topics or scenarios that we don’t know how to deal with. Issues such as discrimination, marginalization, cyberbullying are on the agenda in newspapers and too frequently the protagonists of these events are the youngest because they’re fragile or naive. To counter these phenomena, Webecome was born, a service to prevent social unrest in primary school promoted by Intesa San Paolo.

DESIGNDISABILITYTOY Blog

PLAYING TOGETHER BECOMES POSSIBLE THANKS TO INCLUSIVE DESIGN

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One of the most common wishes in the hearts of toy designers is to create a toy that can entertain all the children in the world, or at least as many as possible. However, we know that it is not an easy challenge, not by chance designers tend to design for the average user in order to satisfy the greatest number of people…the others will adapt! But when we talk about group games, there is no worse thing than exclude someone from participating from the beginning; and if we put ourselves in the shoes of a blind or with any motor disability child this situation could happen often. But playing together becomes possible thanks to inclusive design, and this is proved by the two projects showed in this article.

DESIGNEDUCATIONALMARKETINGTOY Blog

AN AUDIO PLAYER DESIGNED FOR CHILDREN

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As a designer I feel a sense of slight satisfaction in seeing beautiful products; if I then discover that they are not only beautiful to look at, but also easy and fun to use, well designed in all their parts, this satisfaction grows with the desire to share my reflections about it. This brief digression is to explain my state of mind when I discovered Yoto, an audio player designed for children…actually calling it audio player is a bit resizing, but let’s go one step at a time!

EDUCATIONALDESIGNTECHNOLOGYTOY Blog

DESIGN SERVING ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE FOR KIDS

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Artificial Intelligence is making giant strides and it begins to be perceived naturally also in the market of educational toys. If few months ago we talked about more or less static robots, and the discussion that ignited the most careful parents was about the amount of data that a voice assistant could steal from an unwitting child, well today we introduce you to Moxie; in addition to being the latest news in the field of AI for children, it is also proof that design serving artificial intelligence for kids can open new roads for interaction with robots.

EDUCATIONALTOY Blog

AN IMPORTANT INNOVATION FOR THE EDUCATION OF CHILDREN AND PARENTS

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If you believe that there’s no more room for news in the educational field, if when you think about innovation you only consider Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence and if you divide the child’s emotions into extreme happiness and hysterical crying, well after this article you’ll need to change your mind. In our relentless hunt for stimulating projects, we came across QUID+, a young Italian editorial company that represents an important innovation for the education of children and parents.

DESIGNTECHNOLOGYTOY Blog

A SLEEP TRAINER FOR CHILDREN

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If you have always dreamed of sleep like a baby in adulthood, just know that, according to the Italian Society of Pediatrics, 25% of children under 5 years of age suffer from sleep disorders and after 6 this percentage drops around at 10-12%. These data leave little space for interpretation and tell of a widespread problem that affects first and foremost the development of children. These are some of the reasons behind the design of a sleep trainer for children.