This post is sponsored by Matatalab, Opinions expressed are based on my own experience
During the past year, we have been exploring a lot of new products as we work on our coding skills in my eighth-grade STEAM class. My students really enjoy trying out different tools to find something that matches their interests and that gives them opportunities to build their coding skills. We also take opportunities to try tools that are geared toward younger students as well, to better understand how students can develop coding skills and the benefits. It also helps to spark interest in coding, which is an in-demand skill for the future.
Sometimes, students hesitate to get started with coding because of a fear of not understanding how to write the code, or troubleshooting if the code does not work. However, with the different options and resources available through Matatalab, my students have really enjoyed the experience and are excited to dive right in.
Matatalab is a company that specializes in developing educational coding products for young children. What I love about using them is that their products are designed to teach early learners the fundamentals of programming in a fun and engaging way through interactive and hands-on learning experiences. It is not all about the technology, Matatalab offers screen-free coding and also comes with cards to teach students about the coding steps. They offer a range of products that are suitable for different age groups and skill levels, from preschoolers to elementary school students and older.
Through the various products available, educators are able to provide opportunities for students to learn about coding, even at an early age as young as 3! Last year I started exploring the Tale-Bot Pro which makes it easy for kids to get started on their own and build their knowledge whether at home or school.
The newest product from Matatalab is the VinciBot which is aimed at slightly older children, ages eight and above. Matatalab products are designed to be intuitive and easy to use. The coding blocks are color-coded, making it simple for students to understand the different types of commands and functions. This helps to make the learning process more accessible and enjoyable, especially for students who may be intimidated by traditional coding methods. By programming the robot, students can develop their problem-solving skills and spatial awareness and have fun working together to explore coding and the world of robotics!
When I brought it into school, my students were lining up to be the first to explore it! VinciBot is the new and maybe even one of the most popular coding products from Matatalab. It is a versatile and interactive robot that is designed to teach the basics of coding in a fun and engaging way. VinciBot can be controlled using a range of programming languages, including Scratch, Python, and the MatataCode App. With these options, it provides each student with a way to engage in coding at a pace that is comfortable and supports them as they build their skills and confidence in coding.
[creating a program for VinciBot]
The VinciBot comes with everything you need to provide an engaging learning experience for students. There is a challenge booklet with 18 challenges for students to explore. The VinciBot is equipped with interactive sound, light, and movement effects and has 8 sensors. There are 21 musical instrument sounds, an LED matrix, and an LED RGB light structure. The infrared and ultrasonic sensors allow it to navigate its surroundings and interact with the environment. Students can program VinciBot to complete a variety of actions including dancing and can even program it to sing Happy Birthday! VinciBot also offers the opportunity for students to explore artificial intelligence (AI) through its AI-based teaching scenarios and gameplay. This is a great benefit, especially with the increased interest in getting started with AI, coding, and STEM, having one resource that can provide it all is a great opportunity. The Tiny Machine Learning of VinciBot is available even without the Internet in the classroom. Students will have programmed with the AI data and trained the robot before and perform their program in a non-internet environment. The Tiny ML enables students to go through the whole process by learning about model creation, data acquisition, training, and development to then programming. Engaging in this ongoing learning journey helps them to develop a much greater understanding of AI at their own pace and in their own way.
Learn more through their video tutorials and the overview of the VinciBot in action.
The coding program is available in multiple languages, making it more accessible to a wider audience. This allows children from different countries and backgrounds to learn to code using their native language. Additionally, the programming blocks are designed to be easily understood by young children, regardless of their level of literacy or cognitive ability, promoting inclusivity and accessibility for all.
[Students can select the language for coding, making it more accessible for all students as they build language skills and coding skills together!]
One of the key benefits of VinciBot is that it is designed to grow with the student. As they become more proficient in coding, students can use more advanced programming languages to control VinciBot and develop increasingly complex programs. This means that VinciBot can provide years of educational value for children of all ages.
The VinciBot is also compatible with LEGO bricks and other products, making it possible to even combine robots together for a larger project or a robotics competition! Students are so creative and can problem solve and collaborate to design a solution to a challenge or work with design thinking in the classroom.
Benefits of coding
In addition to learning to code, students develop many other skills that are essential for future success. It fosters the development of social-emotional learning (SEL) skills, building self-awareness as students learn to code and evaluate their growth. It fosters self-management as students set goals and problem solve and deal with challenges that can come with coding. Students build relationships as they work with one another to create, while also building skills in communication, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving.
Why explore Matatalab?
Matatalab products promote hands-on learning and encourage creativity and imagination. Students can use the coding cards to think about the steps in the coding process or use the remote to drive the robot. Once logged in, students are able to create their own programs. Being able to explore their own ideas and interests helps to foster a love of learning and discovery. By encouraging creativity and imagination, Matatalab products help to prepare children for the challenges of the future.
By providing an intuitive and hands-on approach to learning programming, Matatalab products help to prepare our students for the challenges of the future. They are designed to be accessible and engaging for kids of all ages and skill levels. Whether you are a parent or an educator, Matatalab products offer a fun and effective way to introduce kids to the world of coding and programming.
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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