Earlier this month, "Hour of Code" Week was celebrated in Israel and internationally. It’s a global initiative that lets kids experience one hour of writing code as they learn about the world of hi-tech and technological innovation in an experiential and fun way.
Limor Harari, head of the Department of Innovation and Technology at Gordon College, which trains teachers, says that learning to code is now a basic life skill.
Coding helps kids develop computational and critical thinking along with original creative expression. Kids are required to think about a problem, break it down into small action steps and find ways to produce solutions.
How can robots help kids learn?
Kids start to learn to code not with a computer but with robots, which look like toys and allow programming of simple directions by kids as young as four. One robot is Blue-bot, the coding ladybug, designed for kids aged four and up.
It can be programmed to move using the arrows on its back or using a block programming language on a computer, iPad or smartphone.
BeeBot is designed to be used by kids. The small, colorful, easy-to-operate robot is used for sequence teaching, assessment, problem-solving and play. The See & Say feature gives BeeBot voice and perception. It can also recognize and respond with a beep or pre-recorded message when encountering another BeeBot or a Blue-Bot.
Not only "animals" help children to code; there’s also a special programmable robotic all-terrain vehicle which is used on grass and sand.
Students can set how fast the robot moves. It also has an obstacle sensor that can be turned on and off which will detect obstacles in front of the robot and flip and rotate it 45 degrees before continuing to operate.