Coding education was one of the hottest topics at CES2018. The conversation was led by toy makers, psychologists, media producers, and educators alike. They all agree that if your children aren’t learning the basics of programming logic, they’re not laying the foundation that they need to function in the future they will be living in. The other major highlight of CES was the problem with too much screen time. Kids are spending too many hours every day looking at their screens and it isn’t good for their development. These two conversations pose a serious problem. How can our kids learn to program computers if they don’t use any screens? Well, there were some pretty creative answers to that question at CES and BOTLEY was probably my favorite one.
Botley is a screen-free coding education robot. He can do up to 80 commands issued to him from a single remote control device. He has object recognition and awareness and can trace lines with the sensor on his “belly.” His basic 77 piece set comes with an instruction manual full of tips, tricks, and even a curriculum style guide to help parents set their kids up to learn from the beginnings of coding to more advanced sequences. Best of all, there is no app or software to program him. No screen needed at all.
His kit contains toys for Botley to play with so that you can create games for him. Have Botley drive over a maze you create with the included puzzle tiles, have him bust through the wall you make from the blocks, or have him push a ball into the goal. All the games advance children through different techniques they can use to program Botley to complete different tasks. These techniques are the basis for the same programming tools used by professionals to create games, websites, and software.
You can see more about my family’s experience with Botley in the video below. You can get Botley at learningresources.com and tell them FamilyTechBlog.com sent you.