Week 2 ~ Programmable Toys

Now we are on week 2 and today’s sessions was all based on the use of programmable toys within a classroom environment. In today’s society, our classrooms are very much contemporary and programmable toys allows pupils to gain an understanding of how programming can come in to place in the young workforce ( Janka, 2008). Within the session, we used the programmable toys named “Bee-Bot” and these  allowed myself to notice how they can be used in a classroom environment for cross-curricular activities and how you can make it all link together by programming.

While  in primary education, Bee-Bot was used quite often and was used mostly in mathematical activities. This links with National Council for Teachers Education view on the use of programmable toys as from my own experience Bee-Bot was something that I really loved doing in class and the whole class was involved in programming the toy which was a great thing because the teacher found a way to make sure that there was no specific person or group excluded from the activity (NCTE,2012).

Bee-Bot has many benefits to it that will impact how our classrooms will continue to be contemporary. There are many benefits such as :

  • Interactive responsive learning
  • Problem solving skills are developed
  • the learners have full control of the toys
  • cross- curricular links

As the session continued, we were given the task to create our own Bee-Bot map that developed learning from a technology point of view and also from another curricular subject. Working alongside my small group, we decided to make a map based on how to use money to buy items within a supermarket. We wanted to make sure that we could make our map suitable for all learners, so we made sure that the map was able to be equipped for all learning levels.

We decided  to make our map like this as we thought that supermarkets and money was a very well used topic within first level learning. Supermarkets are used quite often as a chance of role play within the classroom and also to allow pupils to understand how money works and how to use it. Our basic Bee-Bot map was made by creating four squares by four squares of 15cm. We then decided which items would be more beneficial and understandable for pupils within first level learning. The yellow shopping lists indicates which items we would like the pupils to pick up and where we like them to programme  Bee-Bot to go. The little baskets at the bottom of the map was for the pupils to evaluate if they have summed up all their money properly and inside the baskets are receipts for pupils to check if they are correct.

When linking with Curriculum for Excellence, we focused on 2 main experiences and outcomes which we thought linked best with our own Bee-Bot map. These were :

  • MNU 1-09a ~ I can use money to pay for items and work out what change I should receive
  • TCH 1-05a ~ I can demonstrate a range of basic problem solving skills by building simple programmes to carry out a given task using an appropriate language.

When experimenting with the toy, I agree with Lydon’s discussion about how pupils can physically get involved with the programmable toy and touch it by pressing down the buttons to make it work (Lydon,2008). This is very valid view as pupils are fully in control of their learning and they are doing something which is easy and fun to use. One weakness I am hoping to overcome in the upcoming weeks is to remember to clear the Bee-Bot programme in order for it to work as if you do not erase the pattern from the toy it will continue to repeat the same pattern as before.

I hope to continue to find ways in how to involve programmable toys within education in order to expand the pupils learning and teach them things they have possibly not experienced before relating to programmable toys.

Reference List 

Janka, P. (2008) Using a Programmable Toy at Preschool Age: Why and How? [Online]Available: http://www.terecop.eu/downloads/simbar2008/pekarova.pdf [Accessed: 17 January 2019].

Lydon, A. (2008) Robots in Early Education. [Online]Available:https://oponoa-programmeertalen.wikispaces.com/file/view/BeeBot_article.pdf.  [Accessed: 17 January 2019]

National Council For Teaching Education (2012) Floor Robots – focus on literacy and numeracy(primary) [online] Available:https://www.pdsttechnologyineducation.ie/en/Training/ICT-in-Classroom-PDFs/ICT-in-the-Classroom-PDFs/Floor-Robots-focus-on-literacy-and-numeracy-Primary-13-06.pdf. [Accessed: 20 January 2019].


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