Back in 2013, we came up with a daring plan: to make coding accessible for kids in school, and to promote technology as a part of basic education. Today, our product Robo Wunderkind empowers students in dozens of schools and kids in thousands of homes worldwide to learn to code. Here’s the first part of our story – how a great idea inspired us to change our lives, to change the world.
If you’ve heard about us, you know we’re the company that stands behind a colorful, playful robot filled with cutting-edge technology and packed in an impressive design bundle, one that comes with 3 intuitive coding apps for different age groups. All used to teach curious young minds to adopt the basics of STEM playfully and without any hassle. You probably know us from our workshops, international fairs, campaigns, interviews in the media, or maybe you’ve even seen Robo Wunderkind being used in practice.
What you probably don’t know is our backstory.
In 2013, at an event called the Pioneers Festival in Vienna, where tech geeks and entrepreneurial spirits meet to join forces and network, Rustem Akishbekov was looking for people he could establish his vision with. His vision was making technology accessible for everyone, and his favorite hobby? Building robots. At the Pioneers Festival, he met Anna Iarotska, the person who would help him develop his idea into a business strategy and his hobby into a company. At university, he met Yuri Levin, a design enthusiast who promised to breathe purpose, learning outcomes, and aesthetic life into a complex product.
It takes a great team to make a great product, and we had found ours. The aim was to shake up the educational sphere, to change the way kids play, and to make STEM a staple in schools across the world – all with the help of a little robot.
You might be wondering – why a robot? Why coding? Why STEM?
The world is changing rapidly, we realized. And to weather these changes as an individual, the best prerequisite is a good education. But the meaning of good education changes with time. In the past, knowing as many facts as possible helped you get ahead. That’s not quite the case anymore, not with search engines always at your fingertips, ready to answer any question. (Not to say that knowledge isn’t important at all!)
Today, a good education focuses less on the memorization of facts and more so on the broadening of versatile skills that can set a person apart from the rest. The more areas you can apply these skills to, the better! As adults, the children of today will likely meander between professions, disciplines, and careers, but the one thing that will remain stable throughout will be the absolute necessity of tech literacy, STEAM, and coding; and the non-technical soft skills that come along with them. These include creativity, critical thinking, analytical thinking, digital literacy, teamwork, cooperation, and more. (We summed them up in one of our previous blog posts, do check that out!)
We always saw technology as something exciting and empowering rather than intimidating. It’s taking over our world, but that’s a good thing. And we also knew that the children who grow up as digital natives aren’t afraid of technology either. To them, technology is about participative creativity, about taking an active part in constituting the way technology responds to our needs, and about being difficult when it comes to the demands we place on technology and its functionality. It is here to serve and complement us, as well as to help us fulfill our creative potential.
Tech literacy means understanding technology at a deeper level, being familiar with how it works, and not being afraid to adjust it to our needs. Coding is the language of technology, one that we use to communicate with it, to program it, and to optimize it. And lastly, STEAM is the interdisciplinary umbrella category that reflects how our world works, and thus, also how we should be studying this world – as an intricate interplay between science, technology, engineering, arts, and math.
Robo Wunderkind was conceived as an idea to help empower children to explore their creativity through learning to code, through understanding the basics of robotics, and through seeing that the world around them is just waiting to be explored and constructed with the help of technology.
We also realized that they have a lot to gain from learning how to code in terms of soft skills. From exercising their solution-oriented creativity to learning to break down tasks into smaller more manageable parts and addressing them constructively, to seeing problems as nothing more than fun and exciting challenges to be taken on head-first and without a doubt.
In short, we believed that a sensible tech education can prepare children to be the model citizens of the world of tomorrow. Confident, inventive, tech-savvy, STEM-proficient, empowered to create things, and having the self-assuredness to do so.
It was time to figure out how to set this bold plan in motion. Stay tuned for the next part of this blog post series to find out how we brought Robo Wunderkind to life!
Join us on our mission of bringing fun and creative tech education to classrooms and homes worldwide. Visit our blog to discover plenty of resources about education, and follow our social media channels to stay updated about the latest news.