Robots will never replace teachers, but teachers will have to replace robots. Which robots will best support the learning in your classroom?
Looking and something simple to get rolling with a wide grade level range? Sphero's robot ball fits the bill. This robot can be used with programs like Draw and Drive in Kindergarten. Once the kids are reading, Tickle App, our favorite robot programming app lets students program the robot in Blockly.
9Lego Wedo 2.0
Lego Wedo is a great platform for learning and experimenting. The new Wedo 2.0 is programmable with the Tickle App, from the iPad or tablet. Wedo has a well-developed library of lessons and resources for STEM instruction. If you have the support, this tool can be leveraged for so many different learning opportunities. The best of these have already been tried bu Josh Burker, thinking man's tinkerer, on his blog.
8Rolling Spider Drone
This is the cheap, programmable drone you have been looking for. Field tests (actually in a classroom) concluded that kindergarten students could program drones to fly much more successfully than they could remote pilot them.
When the drone flew into a child's face, no blood was shed and no one lost their job.
A parent asked, “Can't the blades get caught in the kids hair?”
Tired teacher responded, “Yes, but they just crash into the kids face before that happens”.
These simple robots are the center of some of my best lessons in kindergarten and first grade. These robots feature on-bot programming and require NO DEVICES.
I use command cards to allow the students to plan out their program and this also allow for debugging. Looking for more great ideas? Check out this post I wrote for Edutopia.
6Dash and Dot
Dash has wheels and a moving head and Dot has a great personality and a passel of sensors. Looking for a great tool for narrative play and programming? The WonderWorkshop crew can hook you up with the most charming droids currently available. turkey pastrami sausage meatloaf
Students love to dress these robots up and have them roll play all kids of situations. Also be sure to check out the WonderWorkshop Robot League for great lessons and challenges for your class or afterschool group.
With over 20 sensors and 2 motors, this is the most capable robot on the list. This can be used like a bee-bot focusing on push button programming, or the robot can be programmed on a desktop computer.
If you are looking for a robot to support student prototyping and innovation check out the work Sharon Marzouk is doing with Thymio at TechyKids.com.
This robot heals wounds, deep psychological wounds inflicted in my adolescence during a time when I could not get my gawky limbs to shred.
I could not ride the half-pipe, nor the quarter. I dared not try the empty pool. Once I flew bravely off balance over a propped up board and my fine plastic wide deck was in the street and run over before my skull hit the pavement.
Now, with my butt in the chair and my phone in my hand, I shred mad air. Honestly, we get more play out of these after school, but they are just as programmable as Sphero and sometimes I use a mixed group of Sphero and Ollie as I teach with the Tickle App.
- Twitter Needed!!!???!!!
it is a line drawing, math doing, screen wearing programmable racecar robot!
You can program this bad boy in turtle art like Super Genius Josh Burker has done in this video.
If you want a robot that is quick to deploy with a wide range of abilities that also looks like a yellow car, this is EXACTLY the one you need.
2Learning Resources Programmable Robot Mouse
This is the most affordable simple robot for pre-readers. Full Stop. On a limited budget? This is an amazing find. Each command moves the mouse forward one spot. Put numbers on the floor and have the students program the mouse to go to the right answer.
Go ahead and order 5 or 6. This is a good idea.
Once you play with them a bit, have the kids design games to play with them, see how many piece of seat work you can convert into floor-based group work.
These robots are terrifying. When the invasion comes it will be on the wheels of millions of these little chariots. The flying drones are merely a distraction to make us look up as these nimble, camera-enabled, drones sprint off to their surveillance tasks.
Prepare your students for the robot invasion by teaching them to program and maintain the drones, hopefully those of us who are useful to the robot overlords will be allowed to live and serve.