Day 37 (of 189) codings new entry: Marty via @roboticalLtd @roboticalBen
I’ll admit I was a tad sceptical when I got a DM from Robotical asking what my school is doing for STEM. I get emails frequently about what we are doing with/for Stem – or in BC what we refer to as ADST – applied design, skills and technologies – pretty frequently – but with “techno” in my twitter handle, I know what I’m doing….more or less… I know there is a lot I don’t know…and I know I like disruptive shiny objects!
Which is why I was willing to cyber stalk https://robotical.io and check out what they’re doing while @roboticalben was making an offer that was hard to refuse: they are a UK company and trying to make a successful arrival into this continent. So because they were willing to ship trials to western Canada…I felt they had confidence in their product…..
And they are appealing to look at (they have had a lot of eyes on them since they’ve been in my office…!
And the telephone call I took was even more reassuring. It uses scratch, which enough of my kiddos have had exposure to thanks to code.org #hourofcode and they have done some even better thinking:
Since it’s web based, the kit included a little booster pack that has its own wifi package to keep the device your using and Marty on the same network – not a district or open network. Very slick and easy to follow. And then it takes you to a scratch portal that synchs easily with Marty and when coding is entered, the robot does what it is asked. That immediate feedback was very attractive to the first few students I let “test drive” them.
To have some students ask if they can use Marty to help them regulate themselves….even better! And I love that like other “favourite” coding robots of mine, the scaffolding is well thought out. Scratch can lead to python. The scaffolding is something I really appreciated when I first used BB8/sparky Sphero robots – going from remote control to coded controls was powerful. Marty can do a bit more though. And having students explore the code….again, that’s what I love to see – the ability to independently work on it (and again, the immediate feedback enabled two students to stay focused for a long block of break time – 30 minutes was scheduled, at 40 minutes I had to get them back to their teacher!
I am happy when I see:
learners being able to work independently ✔️
Learners able to push themselves into exploration/play mode ✔️
tech that is straight forward for the Luddite-like teachers (often by their own admission) ✔️
feedback that is timely and appropriate✔️
support that is available (❤️ you Annabelle!) and proactive! ✔️
I am enjoying the coding push Marty is enabling in the brief time I have already had him. I appreciate the willingness or robotical to allow a trial period to see if it fits into our stem/steam/ADST mindset and I am encouraging other educators to give them a look! I’m sure I’ll do an update in the near future!
And I will say: I do not get paid for any of my blogs – but am happy to share out great finds and books when I can (and am always open to some projects that are in beta testing for education – that’s how I first got portfolios going with @freshgrade ) so while I did accept the “free trial” I knew that there would be a strong likelihood that I would not be seeking a way to get a return address….