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Robots for iPad
Pros: Kids learn about revolutionary new robots in visual, detailed, and interactive ways.
Cons: The robots' specifics and some content may be above the comprehension level of all but the most tech-minded kids.
Bottom Line: High-quality, challenging app for kids to learn and think critically about the future role of robots in their daily lives.
In the classroom, Robots for iPad may be a helpful launch point for a social studies lesson about the future role of technology in daily life. It also touches on a vast array of science, technology, and design-related topics, so there are a few ways to work it into a curriculum. There's no doubt this generation's kids will interact with robotics in their lives, and this app is a good place for them to start learning about these fascinating tools.
Robots for iPad is an app created by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers that includes photos, videos, animations, and specs of more than 100 robots from 19 countries. These robots can do everything –- from a self-driving car to a robotic dog that helps carry heavy loads –- and this app can help kids learn the hows and whys of robotics.
For a quick start, kids simply tap on the image of the robot that interests them and dive into learning all the specs of that robot through written content, images, and video. The app is organized by categories: Robots, Ratings, News, Play, Learn, About. The main page includes featured robots with images of each that kids can tap to open and see its full page. The Play feature includes a “Face Off” game, with a question such as "Which robot dog would you rather take for a walk?" and two images of robots that kids can tap to vote; the percentage of users who agreed with that choice then appears. The Learn section includes articles that describe robots in detail, although the articles are probably above reading level for most kids.
The Learn section is a great place for newbies to start learning about robots. A glossary, timeline, and basic descriptions in this section help explain terms (with a parent or teacher's reading help for younger kids). For tech-savvy kids who know a bit about robotics, jumping right into learning about the individual robots that interest them may be the most fun.
Some articles are very technical, but even young kids can enjoy the amazing visuals and interactive features, such as rating robots' appearances on a sliding scale between "creepy" and "nice."