Education Technologies That Made Waves at CES 2016
Education technology got a little (or a lot) more exciting earlier this month at the annual launch of learning toys, gadgets, and programs during the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. This year, we saw teaching robots created by an iconic toy brand, an investment made by a tennis star in preschool literacy tech, and my personal favorite, an electronic caterpillar that teaches kids how to code.
Below are some of the most exciting education technology announcements from this year’s CES:
- LEGO announced a new robot-based learning system which combines a LEGO brick set with servos and classroom software including 40 hours of curriculum for teachers. The comprehensive program challenges students to collaborate and problem solve while engaging with science, technology, and coding through the construction of a robot.
- Square Panda marked a critical point in their mission to gamify learning through the official launch of their first product—a phonics playset. The company also paired this announcement with the appointment of a notable board member, tennis star Andre Agassi, whose passion for education extends into his own charter school ventures and cites education as his “life’s work.”
- Fisher Price’s Code-a-Pillar claims the unofficial prize for being the "cutest" tech coming out of CES if you’re scanning headlines. The caterpillar-like electronic toy harkens back to the logo turtle many of us played around with as kids where you draw shapes via simple coded commands. Each of the insect's segments moves separately based on the code input into it. This teaches kids the basics of coding as they attempt to control the caterpillar's movements effectively.
A few companies also launched big edtech initiatives right before CES fervor took hold—those worth watching are MakerBot’s already robust education curriculum and LittleBits bringing the virtual magic of Minecraft to life.
- Makerbot recently conducted a #WeNeedaMakerBot social media competition for schools, and awarded the winning classrooms a 3D printer as part of the company’s growing academic curriculum.
- LittleBits launched a hardware integration with the popular computer game Minecraft using special Wifi-enabled building blocks so that players can build things in the real world that interact with the game, and vice versa.
Have you been reading about any other gadgets or toys with true education potential? Which ones are you most excited about for 2016?