Learning to Code with VinciBot

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 VinciBot

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.  


Extra features

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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Spring Ideas to bring STEM to your classroom!

By Rachelle Dené Poth, @Rdene915

As we continue to seek ways to best prepare students for the skills that they need to be successful in the future, it’s important that we are not afraid to take risks in our classroom by bringing new methods and different digital tools for our students. In looking at resources from the World Economic Forum and the Job Skills Outlook for 2025, for example, many of the skills that we’ve been talking about for years are still in demand and predicted to be even more essential in the future. Some of those skills include critical thinking and problem-solving, creativity, collaboration and communication, flexibility, resilience, leadership skills, and digital literacy. Deciding on methods to use or which digital tool to use in our classrooms can be a challenge sometimes, however, there are some easy ways to get started with STEM learning activities that provide many benefits for students.

Regardless of the grade level or content area, all teachers can bring in ​STEM-focused activities for students in a variety of ways. There may be concerns about a lack of teacher training, however, it just takes a little bit of time to become familiar with the technology or the concepts and then let students dive in and take the lead in learning. It is great when students teach us as well. It does not require us to be experts in all of these areas. We just need to find a few ideas and get started.

Why STEM Matters

Helping students to learn about STEM is important for their future success as many of the in-demand careers are in ​STEM-related fields. These careers will increase in demand and it is important that all students have opportunities to explore their interests in these areas. There are many benefits of learning about STEM including that it helps students to develop problem-solving skills, which is a valuable skill for any type of career. Students build collaboration skills when working with classmates to solve STEM challenges for example. These opportunities also spark curiosity as students become more engaged in learning, not just the content area but also learning more about the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. Providing STEM-related learning opportunities helps students to become more comfortable with taking some risks in learning and also shifts students from being consumers to creators and even innovators. ​

STEM also helps students to build social-emotional learning (SEL) skills. As students work through a learning activity, they build self-awareness in regard to their skills and their interests, self-management as they work through challenges, and develop persistence and resilience as they may face obstacles in learning. They also become better with time management as they plan their project-based learning​ (PBL)​ or need to meet a specific deadline for their work, depending on the methods used. Students build relationships as they collaborate with classmates and develop social awareness as they learn about one another or by exploring the United Nations’ ​S​ustainable ​Development Goals (SDGs) and learning about places and challenges being faced around the world. Decision-making skills are developed as they focus on their learning journey and make decisions and take greater ownership of their learning. Providing STEM activities helps students to become quite flexible in their learning as they have to continue to iterate and reflect on where they are in the learning journey.

Getting Started and Ideas to Explore

Finding the time to get started with ​STEM may present another challenge for teachers, especially with benchmarks that need to be met and specific curricula that must be followed. However, there are some different ways to bring STEM in even if it’s for a short term or as a class activity. 

  1. Start with a discussion about the various subjects of STEM and then encourage students to explore something related to their interests and share it with classmates. There are many online resources available and even educational programs and courses that can help students to learn about STEM subjects. It could be that they enroll in an online course or follow a tutorial and then create something to share in class. Hands-on learning is a great way to get students involved in STEM and that can require very little if any funding. 
  2. Think about the content that you are teaching and identify a real-world problem for students to solve or apply a STEM concept to it for a solution. Students can work individually or in small groups to come up with different solutions and then provide feedback to each other.
  3. Design ​h​ands-​o​n learning activities for students. Depending on the course you teach, it could be having students conduct an experiment in a science class, they could design a prototype for something, reconstruct a famous landmark from history or another course of study, and try to improve upon it using STEM concepts. Use the STEM challenges to connect students in the classroom and boost student engagement in learning.
  4. Bring in some digital tools and STEM materials. There are many digital tools available that not only provide students with opportunities to learn about STEM but also involve emerging technologies like artificial intelligence for example. We have been working with Marty the Robot, a humanoid that can be coded screen-free with color cards or using the app with text-based and block-based coding. This is another great opportunity to bring in STEM, PBL, and SEL and understand how AI is programmed. Also with the great choices focused on STEM and SDGs and more with iBlocks, students engage in learning that is authentic, meaningful, and personalized for them. Teachers have all of the materials they need to get started. Another option is Ozobot, a one-inch robot for teaching students about coding that is a favorite in my STEAM class. It can be used as a screen-free coding resource too!
  5. Think about cross-curricular collaboration. Finding time to bring in STEM activities can be done when collaborating with colleagues through cross-curricular collaborations. Find a common focus and have students apply their knowledge from these courses to design a project or work together with classmates to develop STEM and essential SEL skills.

Finding the Funding

Some of the challenges with bringing STEM into classrooms may include a lack of funding, depending on the type of resource that a school may want. Applying for grants or connecting with a local school or organization that offers a lending program or a library of resources that they share can be a great way to get started. Another suggestion is to obtain a few items and have students work in learning stations. Giving students a chance to explore multiple resources and then exchange ideas and reflect on their learning experience is also beneficial. When it comes to technology, not all schools may have access to the right devices, so finding a variety of resources to use that provide students with the opportunity to learn and engage with these tools is important. Also connecting subjects with other areas of the curriculum so that they see the real-world connection makes it more meaningful for students.

Another idea is to find guest speakers who can talk to students about STEM fields and the importance of these areas. In my school, we have access to a cohort that helps us find local organizations, technology companies, and local universities that offer resources or STEM-related learning opportunities for students.

The Benefits are Long-Lasting

Providing access to resources that equip students with the right information and opportunities to work at their own pace and explore based on their specific interests and needs is essential. Providing students with opportunities to engage in more student-driven learning through STEM-related activities will offer many benefits beyond just the content knowledge. It will prepare them for whatever the future holds and equip them with a variety of skills that will be adaptable to many areas of work and life.

About the Author:

Rachelle Dené Poth is an ed-tech consultant, presenter, attorney, author, and teacher. Rachelle teaches Spanish and STEAM: What’s nExT in Emerging Technology at Riverview Junior-Senior High School in Oakmont, PA. Rachelle has a Juris Doctor degree from Duquesne University School of Law and a Master’s in Instructional Technology. She is a Consultant and Speaker, owner of ThriveinEDU LLC Consulting. She is an ISTE Certified Educator and currently serves as the past -president of the ISTE Teacher Education Network and on the Leadership team of the Mobile Learning Network. At ISTE19, she received the Making IT Happen Award and a Presidential Gold Award for volunteer service to education. She is also a Buncee Ambassador, Nearpod PioNear, and Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert.

Rachelle is the author of seven books and is a blogger for Getting Smart, Defined Learning, and NEO LMS. Follow Rachelle on Twitter @Rdene915 and Instagram @Rdene915. Rachelle has a podcast, ThriveinEDU https://anchor.fm/rdene915.

**Interested in writing a guest blog for my site? Would love to share your ideas! Submit your post here. Looking for a new book to read? Find these available at bit.ly/Pothbooks

************ Also check out my THRIVEinEDU Podcast Here!

Join our weekly show on Fridays at 6pm ET THRIVEinEDU on Facebook. Join the group here