Building Coding Skills in Early Learners with Matatalab Tale-Bot Pro

In collaboration with Matatalab, opinions are my own

Image courtesy of Matatalab

There will be 3.5 million jobs available by 2025 that require STEM skills. The World Economic Forum shares key skills needed by 2025. The skills that were emphasized included collaboration, communication, creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving. Through STEM, we help students to develop essential skills such as social-emotional learning (SEL) that will benefit them in the future.

It is so important that we provide opportunities for all students to learn about coding, even at an early age. There are many resources available for educators or parents to choose from, but choosing the ones that promote the development of these essential skills is key. Matatalab has great solutions for getting students started with STEM at an early age! Matatalab Tale-Bot Pro, a robot designed for kids ages 3 and up, is a great choice for this. When I received it, I could not wait to get started right away and see how my students responded! Seeing the activity box, sticker booklet, interactive maps, and accessories, I knew this would be a fantastic experience!

With Tale-Bot Pro, children learn what coding is, how to create their own code, and without the need for anything other than the robot itself. Tale-Bot Pro comes with a variety of accessories for dressing up the robot, interactive maps, and more! It was fun watching my students dress it up as a rabbit, then switch it to a police car and airplane. It definitely fosters creativity in learning and through the ready-made interactive maps and blank map provided, students not only build their coding skills but can also create their own story to tell. What I love about this Tale-Bot Pro is that it can be used in schools and is a great choice for families to have at home and learn about coding together!

Screen-free and possibilities

With so much technology requiring access to specific devices or time spent staring at a screen, the fact that Tale-Bot Pro offers screen-free coding makes it a wonderful choice. We enjoyed seeing the options to learn basic coding concepts like commands, loops, and sequences. I had fun creating some quick programs to entertain the students as well. It also comes with additional accessories like building blocks, arms that you can add to the robot, and markers that make it so the robot can draw.

[options for dressing up your Tale-Bot Pro]

Getting Started

With Tale-Bot Pro, getting started is easy with its comprehensive manual available in seven languages and the Tale-Bot Pro speaks 15 languages! Great for promoting accessibility for students with the right resources. Whether you dive into the manual for ideas or explore the videos available to demonstrate what the different buttons on the robot are and how the interactive maps can be used, learning and fun will be happening right away. In my classroom, I showed a short video, did a quick demo, and then simply let my students explore on their own. They loved it and were quickly recording their voices, creating their own code, dressing up the Tale-Bot Pro, and having fun using the different materials provided.

[Students in ninth grade preparing peer learning for early learners]

Favorite features

The Tale-Bot Pro makes it so easy for kids to get started on their own because it includes a box full of activities and the materials are visually engaging. Students can dive right into coding and build their knowledge whether at home or school. The interactive maps offer instant voice feedback, which is instructive and also provides an error warning for students.

Color-coordinated: I love the intelligent coding indicators which light up in the same color as the directional buttons on the robot. This enables students to see their program carry out their steps and follow along to see if changes need to be made, which is simply done by hitting the “x” to clear a step and start over.

Command cards: It also comes with a set of command cards that students can use to visualize the code required before programming the robot. Once they program the Tale-Bot Pro, if it doesn’t do what they want to, then they can go through the process of debugging by using the cards and reprogramming it.

[Command cards are great for familiarizing students with steps in coding!]

Content-focused: It’s great that there are ten cross-curricular interactive maps focused on different areas like math, science, and music as well as topics like animals and numbers. The blank map, which works with interactive stickers is perfect for having students create a story or for teachers to design their own lesson for students to learn from.

Engaging: The robot draws students’ attention and sparks curiosity and fun for learning to code. With its six sets of preset dances, the changing eye colors, and costumes to dress up the robot, every student can have an authentic and more personalized learning experience. You can even add Lego blocks to the robot to create something different!. Bring gamification to the classroom with all of the ways students can create a game and then program the Tale-Bot Pro to complete the challenge!

[testing out the interactive maps and brainstorming ideas for younger learners]

Sounds and moves: Students are definitely engaged by the many ways to learn with Tale-Bot Pro and some of the favorite features are the sounds that it makes, the voice recording, and the mix of six random dance moves. We enjoyed recording messages as part of our program and this makes it such a meaningful learning experience! It is very easy to set up, and really does help or will help students to understand the concept of coding and to be curious about it.

Tale-Bot Pro is perfect for introducing younger students not just for building coding skills, but they will build confidence as well as SEL skills. It’s great that it can be used both at school and at home giving families an opportunity to learn with their students and providing that support at home as well. Since Tale-Bot Pro is for young students, it will help to increase interest in coding and bring us closer to meeting the demand for these skills in the future.

When it comes to having access to the right resources, using the ​Matatalab Tale-Bot Pro robot is a wonderful choice because in addition to learning to code, it helps students develop many other skills that are essential for future success. It fosters the development of social-emotional learning (SEL), building self-awareness as they learn to code, self-management as students set goals and problem solve, build relationships as they work with one another to create, while also building skills in communication, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking and problem-solving.

[all learners will have fun collaborating and building skills together]

About the Author

Rachelle Dené Poth is a Foreign Language and STEAM Educator at Riverview High School in Oakmont, PA. She is also an Attorney, Edtech Consultant, Speaker and the Author of seven books about education and edtech. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @Rdene915

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