MIT Technology Review: A Robot to Teach Coding – And Build Character
In this article, Dr. Marina Bers, an MIT alumni, describes her career journey, starting with working with Seymour Papert at MIT to today, as a leading researcher in children’s development and learning.
The article reads in part:
Now at Tufts University, Bers leads the DevTech Research Group, examining the role new technologies can play in children’s development and learning. She also chairs the Department of Child Study and Human Development and directs the graduate certificate program in early childhood technology. Her work aims to help young children build STEM and arts skills, while developing values that can help people live together in a multicultural, diverse society.
“Technology may change the way we address some of those issues,” she says, “because it involves problem-solving, an open mind, trial and error.”
Through her startup KinderLab Robotics, Bers is commercializing another of her inventions: KIBO, a robot already in use by schools in 60 countries. Children cue up a set of actions for KIBP by scanning bar codes on wooden blocks. When they press a button, the robot enacts their program, performing a dance or telling a story. KIBO, which emphasizes concepts such as sequencing that are relevant to coding, also supports learning in math, reading, and writing. Through KIBO’s open-ended activities, says Bers, students learn not only how to engage with the technology but how they can use it to interact positively with other people. “I’m not focused on developing the next generation of programmers,” she explains. “I just want to impact the next generation of citizens—and they need to learn new skills and think in new ways.”
Read the full article.