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Little Robot teaches Children to do “Code”

Children are like blank slates. They are able to learn faster because there is nothing to “unlearn” yet. This goes for languages as well. It is noted that children can learn 2 languages at any given time, especially those from multicultural families. “Coding” is another form of language as important today as the traditional languages. Technology has grown by leaps and bounds at a breakneck speed and proficiency in the use of technological tools is part of growing up.

Coding is a necessary skill or a useful one to say the least. Using a remote control for the TV and the DVD player is coding. Setting the timer in a microwave oven is coding and downloading a game app is also coding.

The difference is the amount of instructions and its complexities. It used to be that one needs a terminal connected to a CPU with a compiler to do coding or programming. While it is still the recent conventional way to do coding, there are other ways to do it that precludes being able to read and write structurally and efficiently. The brain has its logic and an interface than typing instructions on a keyboard.

With this in mind, a Denmark based company has developed a robot that can teach children as young as 3 years old to do coding.

Introducing Kubo

Kubo is a robot not bigger than a soda can and has two wheels and can be used on a table or a desk. The language it uses is called “TagTile” and is composed of tiles. Children can do puzzles and thee tiles are like puzzles that can be pieced together to perform a command as indicated in a tile. For example a tile can mean forward, another forward again and another indicate left and then forward and then right and then another tile to say stop. Once Kubo rolls over them once, Kubo can perform it again and again without the tiles. It is now “programmed” to do the series of instructions.

Kubo uses RFID to scan each tile and that is how the instructions are inputted. Children can learn to lay down the tiles on whatever instructions they want the robot to perform. As they learn the use of the tiles, their instructions can then escalate to more complex commands that the robot will perform.

The beauty of this form of instruction is that no keyboards or screens are used and the children can get the desired output directly since the program execution is instantly performed by Kubo. This mode of teaching gives children ideas on loops, subroutines, functions and other program structures.

There is a planned expansion pack for Kubo that will also teach children mathematical concepts such as addition and subtraction together with teaching the children how to correctly spell words.

“Kids are surrounded by technology, but most are simply consuming video or text through a screen. We want to make them creators, not consumers,” said Tommy Otzen, CEO and cofounder of Kubo Robot, in a statement. “By 2034, 47 percent of jobs will be automated. Our children will be living and working alongside robots and technology. They need to learn from an early age how to interact with that technology, and coding gives them the skills to do so.”  

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