Mr Kemp NZ

Supplementing Computational Thinking with Robots

As a Global EdTech consultant, I have the opportunity to work with schools all over the globe. The diversity in my role is amazing and I have the ability to work with a diverse range of schools, educators, parents and students which keeps me on my toes and learning everyday.

As a teacher for 15+ years, moving into consultancy was extremely tricky. Staying relevant, is now more important to me than ever before. Daily online learning, Face to Face opportunities to learn with teachers and opportunities for hands-on learning at conferences or summits is critical to me as a learner.

One such learning experience came in the last few days after re-reading this Blog Post from Dan Summerell about BlueBots after working with a school in Vietnam about their approach to Computational Thinking.

For the past 8 years I have been using Bee-Bots and BlueBots in my classroom and supporting teachers in their authentic and purposeful integration. I firmly believe that they are one of the best tools to help children understanding computational thinking through hands-on learning.

Every-time I get the opportunity to talk computational thinking and authentic integration, I show teachers the value of hands-on learning with the Bee-Bot and Blue-Bot. Having them out, letting teachers play and showing them the integration possibilities is extremely powerful.

I have seen Bee-Bots used well with my own children (6 and 2) and in Early Childhood and Elementary classrooms, particularly for children aged 2-8. The ability to use them as a simple one-touch tool for counting, story-telling, drawing shapes, map skills and much more is powerful. I love the idea of differentiating learning and using Bee-Bots with groups of students for independent activities related to learning experiences.

With the Blue-Bots (the BeeBots older sibling), I have seen these used particularly well with 6-12 year olds. The ability to add an extra layer by coding using the app, makes learning experiences more engaging for the tech-integrated classroom. Again, I love the idea of differentiating learning with upper primary where students can be more independent and there is more flexibility to be able to have students taking on learning experiences related to classroom topics or themes.

When I am asked what subject areas I can integrate them into, my answer is always ANY. I challenge you to find a subject area where the integration wouldn’t work – anything is possible, just give it a go and think outside the square.

Recently TTS released the new and improved Bee-Bot which I have had the chance to play with and explore. The new and improved Bee-Bot is a perfect starting point for teaching control, directional language and programming. Along with a memory of 200 steps, Bee-Bot can now detect another Bee-Bot or Blue-Bot and say hello. They will play a default sound or the students can record their own. Students can also record audio to play back when each button is pressed, making it more accessible to all students, including those with auditory or visual processing needs.

Have a go with a Bee-Bot or Blue-Bot today and see what integrations you can find. Please share, as I would love to see a collection of them.

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Craig Kemp

Craig Kemp

I am a passionate Global EdTech Consultant based in Singapore but working with Schools and EdTech companies all over the world. I am a lifelong learner, dream creator and thought leader. I love to inspire others and find inspiration. Co-founder of #whatisschool, #asiaED edchats and #pubPD.

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  • I have never heard of the BeeBot before reading your blog post. I think this is a fantastic tool to use and I can’t wait to research it a little more. I love how the BeeBot can be accessible to children with auditory and visual processing needs as well.

  • I think robots are a wonderful education tool and a great way to keep your students engaged. i would have never though of using the bee bots for counting although the blue bots seem much more useful.

  • It is so inspirational how you work with such a diverse array of people. I love the idea of using robots in the classroom, and it is especially cool that they are able to be used by students with auditory or visual processing needs.

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