Digital Technology Week 2 – Programmable Toys

Digital Technology Week 2 – Programmable toys

In this weeks input we learnt about programmable toys and their benefits in the classroom. We did this with the commonly used in classrooms Bee-Bot. Before this input I knew next to nothing about Bee-bot and how to use it, so I was learning from scratch, I had seen the device in schools but had never seen it used. Bee-Bot is controlled using the arrows on the top of its body to direct it where to go so children can do many activities using the device along with several different mats that can be made to suit the teacher and the lesson. In this input that is what we did, we made mats with instructions to be able to be used in a classroom setting to suit a specific lesson.

My group was a pair and we decided to go with the mathematical topic making a mat to be used in a maths lesson. Our board was created to be able for a group of children to ask each other times table questions by moving Bee-Bot to the numbers to make the sum. We also decided to put the word form of the numbers to help the children to make connections between the number and the word form. This engages the children and they get excited about their learning. They are also leaning about directions such as right and left making them aware of the different language used to describe these directions.

We were also to identify the experiences and outcomes that can be achieved by children using our mat along with bee-bot. We did this by using the Curriculum for Excellence (Education Scotland, 2004) outcomes. We decided that the outcomes that would connect to this lesson would be: “I explore and experiment with the features and functions of computer technology and I can use what I learn to support and enhance my learning in different contexts” [TCH 1-04a/TCH 2-04a] in regards to using the Bee-bot and “having explored the need for rule for the order of operations in number calculations, I can apply them correctly when solving simple problems.” [MTH 2-03c] in reference to the maths side of the mat.

We learnt that robots being used in the classroom dated back to the 1960’s where it started with logo which was created by Seymor Papert. Logo was created and allowed children to learn complex coding to control the movement of an arrow on the computer screens to draw lines and make shapes. “the curriculum introduces programmable toy as a good example for developing knowledge and understanding of the contemporary world.” Janka (2008, p2). She also goes on to talk about in the subject of maths children should be able to describe the “simple journey” to direct the programmable toy to hep develop their positional vocabulary and their judgment of distance. We also learned about the many benefits of children using programmable toys such as developing problem solving skills and creativity.

Bee-bot is a very simple and fun toy for the children to use while they are learning. Lydon (2008. P2) said that “[The children] gained independence faster than I anticipated. Twelve out of the 28 were able to use the Bee-Bot without any adult help after the initial instructions.” There is also evidence that programmable toys help children mentally in a lot of diverse ways the NCTE (2012. P1) states “[Floor robots in the classroom] help with the development of skills such as a logical sequencing, measuring, comparing lengths, space orientation, and expressing concepts in words.” This shows that the Bee-bot can cover a lot more than just one Experience and Outcome when doing the one activity and that the children enjoy it so are more likely to take part and become involved and engaged in their learning.

Overall, I found learning how to use the Bee-bot and learning about its uses very interesting and I am sure I will take all I have leaned into the classroom. I feel that programmable toys are a great way for children to learn and experience coding and the use of robots in their learning.

References

·         Education Scotland (2004) – Curriculum for Excellence; Experiences and Outcomes [Online] https://education.gov.scot/scottish-education-system/policy-for-scottish-education/policy-drivers/cfe-(building-from-the-statement-appendix-incl-btc1-5)/Experiences%20and%20outcomes [Accessed: 16th January 2018]

·         Janka, P. (2008) Using a Programmable Toy at Preschool Age: Why and How? [Online] http://www.terecop.eu/downloads/simbar2008/pekarova.pdf [Accessed: 16th January 2018]

·         Lydon, A. ( 2007) Let’s Go With Bee-Bot: Using your Bee-Bot across the curriculum. TTS Group Ltd.

·         NCTE (National centre for Technology in Education) (2012) NCTE Floor Robots – Focus on Literacy & Numeracy. [Online] http://www.ncte.ie/media/NCTE_Floor_robots_focus_on_literacy_numeracy_primary_12-06.pdf [Accessed: 16th January 2018]

·         Transum (2018) – Logo [Online] http://www.transum.org/software/Logo/ [Accessed: 16th January 2018]