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Showing posts with label Coding. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Coding. Show all posts
Using the KOOV Kit in the Elementary Classroom

Using the KOOV Kit in the Elementary Classroom


Using the KOOV Kit in the Elementary Classroom #SonyKoov

One of the coolest parts of the job as a tech teacher is getting to test out robots. In this blog post I'm going to tell you all about KOOV from Sony. They are paying me to write this blog post, but all of the opinions are my own. I really think it will make a great addition to any STEM or Computer Lab classroom. 


Features of KOOV

First I want to tell you about the KOOV Trial Kit. They also have an Educator Kit that includes more parts, but the Trial Kit can definitely get you started and see if it is a good fit for your classroom. 

One of the things that sets KOOV apart from other coding kits is that students can actually build with it! The kit comes with KOOV blocks in 7 different shapes and 7 different colors, which is ideal for learning about 3D building. 
Using the KOOV Kit in the Elementary Classroom #SonyKoov
To help students learn the fundamentals of coding, there are these sensors that can be programmed. The kit comes with 5 sensors that include LEDs, a buzzer, IR Photoreflector, motors, and the KOOV Core. This combo is perfect for building models that can interact with their surroundings. 
Using the KOOV Kit in the Elementary Classroom #SonyKoov
In addition to all of the physical pieces, there is a great app with a user-friendly interface that makes it perfect for elementary students. Students use the drag and drop coding blocks to program the sensors, so it should be a familiar experience to other coding programs we use. It is the same app that is available in the full Educator's Kit. 


Using KOOV in the Elementary Classroom

The app has everything you need to code your KOOV. I love that they made options for Chromebooks, Windows devices, and IOS. This makes is so versatile for all of our unique setups. 
Using the KOOV Kit in the Elementary Classroom #SonyKoov


Interested in 9 Digital STEM Challenges to go along with KOOV? There is a file in the TRY section of my Free Resource Library that you can use with students. Just sign up for a free account and then navigate to the "Activities to TRY" area and look for the picture of KOOV to find the activity. 
Using the KOOV Kit in the Elementary Classroom #SonyKoov
You know I'm always talking about ways to bring collaboration into the tech lab. When we think of coding, sometimes the image that pops into our mind is someone with noise canceling headphones working for hours over his/her laptop. That doesn't appear very collaborative. 

That is why I love this next generation of classroom coding kits. They practically require collaboration and problem solving skills. Students can work through the challenges together until they get it right. 


Using the KOOV Kit in the Elementary Classroom #SonyKoov
The digital STEM challenges I provided really only go over the very basic commands that are possible with KOOV. There is so much more to do using the 3D building blocks that the possibilities are nearly limitless. 

Q&A

I'm pulling the Q&A directly from the KOOV website
Can children use KOOV on their own?
Yes. The KOOV app was developed so that children can learn while playing on their own, as it explains the way to build blocks and coding in a concise and intuitive manner.

Can I enjoy KOOV even though I don't know how to code?
Yes. KOOV uses visual programming so that even beginners can quickly understand how to code. In the Learning Course, students learn how to build robots and how to code step-by-step, so that without previous experience they can learn while having fun. In Robot Recipes, we have pre-coded and pre-designed a wide range of run robots so that even beginners can instantly start enjoying KOOV.

In which countries is KOOV available?
The Educator Kit and Trial Kit are available to ship only to residents of the USA although KOOV is sold in both Japan and China. These products may not be shipped to purchasers located in the state of Washington.

Do I need anything to use KOOV?
You will need three 1.5V AA/LR6 alkaline batteries, a Phillips screwdriver and a compatible operating environment to run the KOOV app.

How can I contact the KOOV team if I have any questions?
For technical questions, contact us at KOOVSupport@sony.com.  To speak with someone directly, call 1-866-935-7665 M-F from 7am-5pm.  For all other questions contact us at KOOV@sony.comWe are happy to answer any questions you may have.

What is STEAM and how does KOOV teach kids about STEAM?
STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math. Through KOOVs Learning Course, we provide children with over 50 hours of engaging STEAM content, working as an introduction for many kids to these exciting fields.

What operating systems is KOOV compatible with?
Windows: 7/8.1/10 64bit
Mac OS: 10.8 and above
iOS: iOS 10 and above, iPads made in 2013 or later
Chrome OS

How does KOOV connect with my computer?
Via Bluetooth and direct USB on Mac, IPad, Windows and Chromebooks devices..

How long do KOOV robots last on batteries?
This really depends on the number of sensor and actuators that you use. The Alligator can work for several days without new batteries, while a robot with two DC motors running continuously can last for around 45 minutes.

Can KOOV be used offline?
Offline options are available.

Is the software free?
There are no additional charges for the KOOV App, Classroom Management software or for student logins/licenses.

Special Deal

For a limited time only, you can get the Trial Kit or the full Educator Kit at a huge discount. Hurry though, the offer is only good through 12/29/19.


KOOV SALE - From NOW until 12/29/19 -> HERE

Save $50 on the KOOV Trial Kit $249.99 à NOW $199.99 

Save $100 on the KOOV Educator Kit $519.99 à NOW $419.99 

New information about the First Annual Sony KOOV Challenge

In March 2020 Sony will host the First Annual Sony KOOV Challenge in the USA. To sign up to participate in the challenge, please go please go HERE


Using the KOOV Kit in the Elementary Classroom #SonyKoov

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Brittany Washburn
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Teaching the 4 C's with Robots in the Elementary Classroom

Teaching the 4 C's with Robots in the Elementary Classroom


When thinking about teaching 21st century skills, the 4 C's are the pedagogy that come to mind. The 4 C's stand for Critical Thinking, Collaboration, Creativity, and Communication. I have a favorite activity in the computer lab that works on all 4 C's at once - Unplugged Coding.
When thinking about teaching 21st century skills, the 4 C's are the pedagogy that come to mind. The 4 C's stand for Critical Thinking, Collaboration, Creativity, and Communication. I have a favorite activity in the computer lab that works on all 4 C's at once - Unplugged Coding.

An Explanation of the 4 C's

Critical Thinking - this one is all about finding solutions to problems. Can students conceptualize, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate information for the purpose of problem solving?

Collaboration - working with others (includes social emotional learning). Collaboration requires learning and working in groups or teams to achieve a goal. 

Creativity - thinking outside the box. Creativity requires the use of imagination and original ideas to solve problems. 

Communication - conveying ideas. Communication as a skill requires students to be able to use different mediums to show what they know. 
When thinking about teaching 21st century skills, the 4 C's are the pedagogy that come to mind. The 4 C's stand for Critical Thinking, Collaboration, Creativity, and Communication. I have a favorite activity in the computer lab that works on all 4 C's at once - Unplugged Coding.

An Explanation of Unplugged Coding

Coding is really trendy right now in education and that makes my tech-heart so happy! 

Coding concepts can be taught in so many different ways. A lot of us are using programs like Scratch and Code dot org to teach students the fundamentals. These programs are very effective, but are lacking the collaborative nature of group work in the classroom. 

Using robots like the Code and Go Mouse, Bee Bots, Sphero, and Dash and Dot are what I mean when I say Unplugged Coding. Using these robots still works on coding fundamentals, but it takes us away from the computer screen (though some of these Bots still have a user interface on a screen). 

Learning coding concepts in this way is great for all ages, and particularly effective for beginners. You see, coding is mostly done in the mind anyway. We just put the code into the computer to test what we planned out and see if it works. If it does work, then we have a computer program that can do the thing we want. If it doesn't work, we have to troubleshoot it and think of a different solution. It is happening in our minds. 

When thinking about teaching 21st century skills, the 4 C's are the pedagogy that come to mind. The 4 C's stand for Critical Thinking, Collaboration, Creativity, and Communication. I have a favorite activity in the computer lab that works on all 4 C's at once - Unplugged Coding.

I like to give the example of sending a Kindergarten student out on an errand at school. Let's say we need the student to take a message to the school secretary, get a response, and bring it back to the classroom. We have to give the student all of the directions before the student leaves the classroom. The student then needs to follow the directions exactly in order to make it back to the classroom with the return message. We only get one chance to get it right. Well, coding is like that too. We come up with the entire program and then run it to test the whole thing. If any part is incorrect then we won't have the intended outcome and we have to make an adjustment and try again. 

When thinking about teaching 21st century skills, the 4 C's are the pedagogy that come to mind. The 4 C's stand for Critical Thinking, Collaboration, Creativity, and Communication. I have a favorite activity in the computer lab that works on all 4 C's at once - Unplugged Coding.

Combining the 4 C's with Unplugged Coding using VoCode

Nearly any academic topic can be integrated with coding. I've created tons of activity card sets that work with any coding robot so that we can bring these great skills into the computer lab or classroom. 
When thinking about teaching 21st century skills, the 4 C's are the pedagogy that come to mind. The 4 C's stand for Critical Thinking, Collaboration, Creativity, and Communication. I have a favorite activity in the computer lab that works on all 4 C's at once - Unplugged Coding.

How to Use:
  • The most straightforward way to use these activities is to have students program their bot to go to one term at a time.
  • To add a challenge, give students multiple stopping points for their path.
  • This might mean choosing 5 cards from the pile and that is the order in which they need to write their program.
  • Add levels of complexity by requiring students to program in “jumping over” pieces or spaces, and “collecting” and “discarding” the pieces they picked from the pile.
  • Due to the factor of choice in these activities, there are no answer keys. Have students check each other.

By completing these activities in small groups of 2-4 students, they will be incorporating the 4 C's every step of the way. 

I love listening in to their conversations as they discuss how to program the robot to go to the correct spot(s) on the grid. There is almost always more than one path they could take, so students in the group all have to agree before they can proceed. 
When thinking about teaching 21st century skills, the 4 C's are the pedagogy that come to mind. The 4 C's stand for Critical Thinking, Collaboration, Creativity, and Communication. I have a favorite activity in the computer lab that works on all 4 C's at once - Unplugged Coding.

Students fill out the recording sheet as a group to show their thought process along the way. This makes a great assessment piece if you need it. I usually just look it over for completeness. This might not be popular opinion, but I don't think coding should be graded on anything except completeness. Did it do the intended thing? Because there are so many ways to accomplish the end result and I wouldn't want to limit students by a rubric or expected process. 
When thinking about teaching 21st century skills, the 4 C's are the pedagogy that come to mind. The 4 C's stand for Critical Thinking, Collaboration, Creativity, and Communication. I have a favorite activity in the computer lab that works on all 4 C's at once - Unplugged Coding.

Even if you don't have robots, you can still use these activities! Each set comes with a "No Bots" option. Students use a paper grid and mini pieces to map out their own plan. 
When thinking about teaching 21st century skills, the 4 C's are the pedagogy that come to mind. The 4 C's stand for Critical Thinking, Collaboration, Creativity, and Communication. I have a favorite activity in the computer lab that works on all 4 C's at once - Unplugged Coding.
How about getting the PE teacher involved? The Life-Size option would be great at recess or during PE or for students who need to physically move through the activity in order to understand it. There really is an option for everyone!
When thinking about teaching 21st century skills, the 4 C's are the pedagogy that come to mind. The 4 C's stand for Critical Thinking, Collaboration, Creativity, and Communication. I have a favorite activity in the computer lab that works on all 4 C's at once - Unplugged Coding.

Now that you see how VoCode activities work, here is how they tie into the 4 C's: 
Critical Thinking - students need to consider all possible solutions and create one path that will get the right result.

Collaboration - students work together to solve the problem.

Creativity - there might be multiple right answers so students have to think outside the box to solve the problem.

Communication - once students have the solution, they still need to communicate it with each other and onto the recording sheet. 

Ready to try some of these activities with your students? Click on the images below to check out all of the topics





When thinking about teaching 21st century skills, the 4 C's are the pedagogy that come to mind. The 4 C's stand for Critical Thinking, Collaboration, Creativity, and Communication. I have a favorite activity in the computer lab that works on all 4 C's at once - Unplugged Coding.

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Brittany Washburn
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Coding Quests - Computer Science Printable Board Games

Coding Quests - Computer Science Printable Board Games


Bring hands on learning into your computer science and technology education with Coding Quests board games!


Bring hands on learning into your computer science and technology education with Coding Quests board games!
Bring hands on learning into your computer science and technology education with Coding Quests board games! 
Bring hands on learning into your computer science and technology education with Coding Quests board games!
Each of these printable board games practices a different coding or computer science skill in a way that is fun and engaging for students. They will be challenged to problem solve but will love every minute of it! 
Bring hands on learning into your computer science and technology education with Coding Quests board games!

The fun Pirate Theme makes students feel like they are on an adventure and far from learning about computational thinking. Each of the board games comes with the background knowledge students need in order to understand the concept. 

 Student Benefits

Jamie (K-5 Digital Learning Coach) Said: "They began to understand complex language and how to analyze whether or not they were supposed to move in a certain direction. They used strategy to figure out where to place obstacles on the boards and realized when they made a mistake and put their obstacles in the wrong places."

Teacher Instructions

No-stress teacher instructions mean that you'll feel confident introducing these games to your students even if you're not sure you've mastered the computer science concepts yourself. I do recommend showing students how to play first as a whole group before having them play it in small groups, especially for the little ones. There are student instructions and I did my best to make them visual, but some will take some reading skills that your students may not yet have. 

Prepping the Games

These games do take some time to prep. The average is about an hour, but if you use all 3 of the games available there are some pieces that are used across the series. I recommend printing on cardstock and laminating so that you can use the pieces year after year. With a few student helpers the process will be a breeze. 
Bring hands on learning into your computer science and technology education with Coding Quests board games!

Bring hands on learning into your computer science and technology education with Coding Quests board games!

Bring hands on learning into your computer science and technology education with Coding Quests board games!
Teacher tips from Jamie: "I think playing the game as a whole was a great way to introduce it because the statements can be tricky. I laminated EVERYTHING! I made multiple copies of the game and labeled each game board and game piece with a different sticker so that if we have multiple games going at one time, when it's time to clean up they know exactly where the pieces go. I also taped a sandwich-sized baggie to the game boards so that the bags wouldn't get misplaced. Oh, and try not to run out of ink! :) Since I made so many copies, I needed more ink. I should have checked my ink cartridges first! "
Bring hands on learning into your computer science and technology education with Coding Quests board games!

Bring hands on learning into your computer science and technology education with Coding Quests board games!
Here is a little time lapse video I made prepping the Directional Coding Board game:
Bring hands on learning into your computer science and technology education with Coding Quests board games!
Bring hands on learning into your computer science and technology education with Coding Quests board games!

Other Ways to Play Coding Quests

Recess Style
•Have students be the pirates and play it full sized.
•Create a path using tape, chalk, sit spots, etc. for students to follow.
•Use any obstacles you want that will fit in the spaces you’ve made.
•Students draw cards and complete the actions full sized
•This is great for days when you’re out of the lab or the wifi is not working. Bonus points if you collab with your PE teacher!
Whole Class
•Each student needs a path, which they can make with notebook paper, or full size in the classroom or outside.
•Students place their two obstacles along their own path.
•Teacher reads the cards aloud and all students complete the actions on their own paths
•If you keep a few paths set up in your classroom with tape or sit spots, etc., this would make a great early finisher activity.
Bring hands on learning into your computer science and technology education with Coding Quests board games!
Try these coding quests games with your students. Click here to view the games in my TpT shop.

Looking for Coding Books to add to your classroom? In this blog post I share 12 Coding Books to Try.
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Brittany Washburn
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Coding Made Accessible to ALL Learners with Guided Coding Stories

Coding Made Accessible to ALL Learners with Guided Coding Stories


I've heard it time and time again, "there aren't great resources out there for teaching computer science with our special needs population."    I get it, using the robots, block coding, even the code.org lessons is seriously challenging in this setting. Without first building the coding language and concepts, how could we ever expect any students to be successful with more advanced coding?

There are currently more Makerspaces, robotics clubs, and technology classes are in our schools than ever before. The reality is that the current model is not simple enough for all learners to succeed. There needs to be a level of understanding before students can successfully program a robot or build an algorithm for a block coding program.

This is where Guided Coding Stories comes to the rescue! We developed a way to build those foundational computer science concepts in a way that can be done with any learner at any age level. The best part is that the activities are incredibly engaging and built in a way to limit frustration (and increase perseverance).

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Brittany Washburn
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