AWAKENING OF KIDS TO TECHNOLOGY WITH STEM TOYS
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.
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.
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.