App review by Marianne Rogowski, Common Sense Education | Updated August 2019
KOOV
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KOOV

Robotics kit makes design possibilities virtually limitless

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Editorial review by Common Sense Education
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Grades
3–8 This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
Subjects & Skills
Science, Creativity, Character & SEL

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Pros: Bright blocks and a variety of sensors promote design-thinking skills and innovation.

Cons: The kits may be cost prohibitive, especially for multiple kits, and the coding blocks can be difficult to manipulate.

Bottom Line: For schools with healthy budgets, KOOV helps kids design and code interactive robots with blocks, sensors, and imagination.

Start students out on the tutorials to gauge their skill levels and introduce them to KOOV's many different features. From there, the possibilities are endless. Teach coding basics and then set kids loose to expand upon them in nearly any subject area. In English language arts (ELA), have kids make characters and upload pictures or videos to a collaborative digital storybook using Book Creator or iMovie. In social studies, have kids build robotic trebuchets or communicate in Morse code via light or sound sensors. For science, rotate kids through STEM centers to create and test prototypes, write a design manual, or explore different forms of scientific discovery.  

Provide students with opportunities to engage in freestyle design, too: There's a user community where students can upload their creations and accompanying code to share or view ideas for inspiration. A helpful tip: You'll definitely want to keep batteries and charging blocks on hand so that the parts don't run out of juice midlesson. 

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KOOV is an interactive design and coding platform where kids use blocks and sensors to build and manipulate interactive robots. Kids can start with simple designs and programs to get the hang of the process and then work their way up to more complex or freestyle projects. In-app tutorials walk students through step-by-step procedures to build structures and then use drag-and-drop block coding to activate various sensors and motors. The 3D feature is nice here: As kids are building, they can zoom in and rotate the angles to see all dimensions.

The drag-and-drop motions can be a source of frustration: The spaces within the blocks are a challenge to manipulate, even for small fingers, and the blocks may not attach in the desired order. But more likely, the bigger issue teachers will have is that everyone will want to participate. That means multiple classroom kits, which presents a pretty hefty price tag. While the kits themselves are expensive ($249.99 for the smaller trial kit and $519.99 for the more extensive educator kit), there are abundant resources available in the app and on the developer's website, free of charge. These include detailed interactive tutorials, downloadable lesson plans, classroom management capability, and access to a design community.

KOOV's well-thought-out design, tutorials, and community are almost certain to engage kids in meaningful creation. Kids who participate in highly engaging STEAM activities with KOOV are far more likely to retain concepts related to design and coding simply because the combination of hands-on and in-app activities will encourage critical-thinking and problem-solving skills.

KOOV's learner-centric app provides a space where kids can read, watch videos, and manipulate images and code to bring their creations to life. It appeals to kids' natural curiosity, encouraging the development of design-thinking skills such as ideation, prototyping, and testing. Reading skills are reinforced as well. Kids have to carefully follow written instructions if they want their creations to work properly. And in terms of social and emotional learning (SEL), kids will most certainly be challenged to persevere and communicate with their classmates, developing self-confidence as their ability improves. The subject taught doesn't matter here; as kids hone their skills, they'll demonstrate the ability to transfer them to other areas, and as an added bonus, they'll have lots of fun doing it.

Overall Rating

Engagement Would it motivate students and hold their interest? Is it visually appealing? Would it inspire teachers to try something new or change their instruction?

Opportunities to design, build, and create code for robots will draw students in, and opportunities to collaborate and share will keep them interested.

Pedagogy Does the tool help teachers promote a more student-centered experience? Will students gain conceptual understanding or think critically? Does it deepen teachers’ pedagogical thinking?

The hands-on, iterative approach encourages the development of design thinking, creativity, and SEL skills. 

Support Can students and teachers get assistance when they need it? Is it created with people of different abilities and backgrounds in mind? Is learning reinforced and extended beyond the digital experience?

Detailed, interactive tutorials and accompanying videos teach kids to build and code robots, and projects are labeled by skill level. 


Common Sense reviewer
Marianne Rogowski Media specialist/librarian

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