Just in time for back-to-school: New distance learning resources are available on Wide Open School.
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.Continue reading Show less
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.
Key Standards Supported
Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
Plan and carry out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improved.
Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.
Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better meet the criteria for success.
Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.
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