We can never get enough of happy customers. Being one of them, Marc Faulder, Early Years educator and ADE, sat down with us to discuss his experiences with STEM education and robotics in the classroom. He became interested in Robo back in the early stages and has remained a fan since. We’re beyond happy to be making a difference with him.
RW: What is special about Robo to you?
MF: For me, it’s the only resource that I have where children do both the design and control. They have an idea, they build and design a robot and then they control it. Everything else that I have is a set robot that they drive, but have no control over. They can personalize these other toys with Lego adaptors, but what you (Robo) have is a kit that they can physically build and then test; take it apart, build it again. The possibilities are much more open.
RW: What were some of the projects you worked on with Robo in your class?
MF: We had a project where children were using Robo and the Robo Live app to create flashlights and help Little Red Riding Hood find her way through the woods. That was a very successful project. Then they wanted to build robots that moved. We worked on that for a couple of weeks. Then I introduced the wheels and the rotator blocks because they needed to understand how they work, they needed to know left and right. We showed them how to control that on their iPhone screen. We’re now able to use the full kit. They will piece it together and make a robot, all within Robo Live, not with Robo Code yet. At one point the kids also played a soccer match with one team using Robo and the other one using Dash robots.
RW: Did you have to explain how Robo works a lot?
MF: We started very slowly – with a simple robot that didn’t move. Then, they were then able to do a little bit more and a little bit more over time. And now they just open the box and put the pieces together. They have access to all of the classrooms and all of the resources, they choose where to learn. Children can just go and get it and use it wherever they want.
RW: Can you tell more about how the learning process is structured in your school?
MF: Our children learn through play. What we have is like a kindergarten space. They have access to indoor and outdoor spaces all day long. Then there’s also art, roleplay, games. And the adults observe what they’re doing. We’re teaching them skills of maths, reading and writing in their play. This goes on for one year before they go to year 1 and join the national curriculum. That’s a lot more basic, sitting at a desk, getting instructions from their teachers and playing a bit, but not too much.
RW: What kind of skill development were you able to observe while using Robo?
MF: The manipulation of small tools helps the kids build up strength in the hands. That’s a huge benefit. It’s also fascinating to watch the way they can persevere at the testing of the idea. When something doesn’t work, they take it apart, they try again. The perseverance is huge. Also, when it comes to problem-solving: they have an idea of what to do and are able to get to that goal through Robo.
RW: How was getting started with Robo for you?
MF: I followed your work for well over a year, so I had a good expectation of what the kit would do. So I’ve naturally found it quite easy to use. The starter kit also has some good visuals on the box that make it very obvious how it all fits together.
RW: How can we support you further?
MF: It’s been very successful already and I’ve been very happy with the partnership. You’ve been able to answer all my technical questions and solve technical issues. I feel very supported by you, very happy to be working with you.
Follow Marc and all of his exciting educational endeavors here.