It is fulfilling to be one of the coaches of an Aerial Drone Competition team. It may sound like a really hard task to do but Robotics Education & Competition (REC) Foundation will help you get through it by providing you with tools and resources you would need to succeed.
Starting a Team
Basically, there’s no limit in the number of participants on a competition team. If you have a lot of students interested in participating, you may want to consider having multiple teams. No additional team registration fee if you already have four (4) Aerial Drone Competition teams in the same school or organization. You can grow your team up to more than 23 teams. But remember that the average team size should only be between 3 and 5 students. If you don’t have a co-pilot and visual observer to assist in navigating the field, your team will be at disadvantage at competitions so make sure to take note of that.
Your team should learn and practice concepts like programming, flight principles, communication and documentation so be sure to get help from mentors who can help students increase their knowledge and skills about those things. Parents can also support by emailing them the article How Can Parents Help?. You may also refer to these links to get more details on what mentors can help you with: RECF Student-Centered Policy and the article What Does an Aerial Drones Competition Coach Do?
At least 1 drone is needed per Aerial Drone Competition Team. The two drones below are the approved drones for 2022-2023 competition season.
Access to an internet-connected computer or device is needed to utilize the online curriculum and programming resources.
Competition Field to be used in this season can be reused each so it would be ideal to have that at the very start. It will help you practice better like in a real drone arena. You may purchase one at Drone Competition Gates.
For the Game Elements, you have an option to either purchase them or create your own mocked up copies. Each season, a new set of unique Game Elements is being released. You may grab yours at Drone Competition Gates.
Setting up a meeting schedule with your team based on what your needs are would be advisable to fully equipped for the competition. Stick to your objectives! You may want to meet not more than 2 hours for younger students while others can meet more often. You will definitely benefit from the time and effort you put into the program. Meeting more frequently can help you better prepare for the competition.
First meeting should be listing goals and fixing a timeline to meet those goals. Make sure that someone is keeping track of it so you are on schedule and you’ll see the progress and things that need to be looked into further. Time management should always be taken into consideration.
Practice makes perfect is what people normally say. And yes, I would say that giving time for practice helps a lot to process things. Setting up a space with obstacle courses to practice flying drones is normally done by teams. You may use your own materials to set up one but it would be more comfortable and advantageous for the team if they practice using a full or partial Aerial Drone Competition Field which can fit in a gymnasium, cafeteria or even large classroom. And it’s common to practice a set of teams to practice on a field simultaneously up to 4 teams.
In order to fully maximize the team members you have, each must be assigned a role. You may rotate roles so all members of the team can learn and experience the full program. Based on the student’s interests, skills and needs must be the key factor when assigning a role. You may opt for assigning or letting the students choose. Don’t limit anyone in one role if they can perform multiple roles which is quite common. Multiple students can even share a role. Have a backup too in case of an emergency like sickness or schedule conflict so you won’t get in trouble. See the list below of the common Aerial Drone Team Roles:
Competition Logbook Documenter
Online Challenge competitors
There are a lot of ways to develop your team. Be as unique as possible. Each member of your team has its own creativity so get the most out of it. Let them choose your team name, have a cheer or song, design a team shirt, create some displays for your pit space, etc. This way, your team will be more engaged and excited. The more you get them engaged, the more they will be eager to accomplish things and work harder as a team. You may also draw the attention of other students and even potential supporters to help mold your team’s drone program to its full potential.
Joining some competitions can give your team a chance to execute what they have been working on. It would help them see the things they did well and needs for improvement so you’ll be more prepared when the season starts. Typical competitions include Autonomous Flight matches, Piloting teamwork matches, and interviews for judged awards.
Aerial Drone competition teams will have the opportunity to show off their piloting, programming, teamwork and communication skills through this drone competition event by REC Foundation (Robotics Education & Competition Foundation).
Aerial Drone Competition Matches
The competition is basically played on a 24’x24’ square field. There are two ways to compete in this Aerial Drone Competition namely Piloting Teamwork Matches and Autonomous Flight Skills Matches.
In Piloting Teamwork matches, the two alliances, one red and one blue, made up of 2 teams each, will compete against each other in two minutes. The goal is to attain a higher score than the opposing alliance through different ways: clearing your starting lanes (10 pts), owning goals (10 pts), getting 1 white ball in a goal (11 pts), landing drones such as a landing pad of their own alliance color (5 pts) or landing in their alliance blackout zone, where teams can only enter during the last 45 seconds of the match and must fly through both keyhole gates first (15-40 pts).
On the other hand, the Autonomous Flight Skills matches gives each team 60 seconds of autonomous drone operation to score points where no pilots are allowed which means all drone commands should be pre-coded by the team.
Game Manual and Team Registration
For the official games rules for Aerial Drone Competition Mission 2023: Blackout, please see the Aerial Drone Competition Game Manual found at RoboticsEducation.org.
This Aerial Drone Competition focuses on hands-on, student-centered learning where teams learn about drones, flight principles, programming, documentation and communication skills which is critical especially to get higher points in some matches. It helps the team expand their knowledge and understanding about drones.
There have been a lot of changes and adjustments when the Coronavirus pandemic hits the whole world. The education sector is one of the biggest divisions that was affected and the government did whatever they could to support this sector.
The Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) is a funding included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act of the US Government which was passed in March of 2020. But in December 2020, the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act added over 53 billion dollars to a second ESSER fund with an application deadline of September 20, 2022. Following this, the American Rescue Plan became law in March of 2021, providing an additional $126 billion in ESSER III funding which has a deadline until 30th of September 2023.
Utilizing the ESSER Funds
The ESSER funds can be used for a lot of educational needs. As stated from the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, educational demands such as technology hardware, software, assessment and instructional materials, professional development, and a whole lot more. With this statement, ESSER funds can be requested for robotic kits for students as well as professional development for teachers. ESSER II and III specifically identify the need to remediate learning loss amongst learners as well as educators.
STEM learning is critical for students of all ages and great companies such as Robolink Inc. can provide a great line of educational robotics and standards-aligned curriculum to meet the needs of all students. With its mission to make STEM education accessible, engaging and fun for all, Robolink Inc. can make fun and approachable robotics kits that bring computer science to life and teach real industry competency which is a skill needed for the 21st century.
Needs to know about ESSER Funding Application
In order to receive ESSER funding, the Local Education Agencies (LEAs) must apply for funding from their State Educational Agencies (SEAs). Keep in mind that each SEA has a different policy to follow so make sure that you refer to the right state’s SEA for specific rules and procedures in order to qualify for the funding.
First thing you need to do is to identify your needs. Have a meeting with the teachers and educators who want to enhance their STEM learning and use robotics kits. Start by asking the number of students and teachers who will be using the kits and what will be the ratio of each robotic kit per student.
Secondly, you can go to the website https://www.robolink.com/pages/our-products to view some of the products you can use for STEM learning. For more information on the products and services, you can navigate through the site and see a wide array of products, lessons and even meet the community where you can learn and interact with. A quote for schools can also be requested and a Purchase Order can be used to place the order here. See the full information here: https://www.robolink.com/pages/purchase-order
You may also want to get the support of the school’s administration. The school’s LEA will need to request from the SEA. In short, seek support from the school and district head for this smart move and endeavor. Once you have received support from LEA administration and settled all your needs, your LEA will send your ESSER funding request to the SEA and they will be the one to take it from there. You should also be aware of the deadlines they will have because ESSER funds will only be available until the date they’ve set for the deadline.
Review and begin with these steps as early as possible so that you’ll get to enjoy, learn and bridge the learning gaps for students and even for teachers alike.
The Federal Aviation Administration or FAA is the largest transportation agency of the U.S. government and regulates all aspects of civil aviation in the country as well as over surrounding international waters. Its responsibilities include air traffic management, certification of personnel and aircraft, setting standards for airports, and protection of U.S. assets during the launch or re-entry of commercial space vehicles. They have certain rules for this so called air traffic management including commercial operators flying drones – this is the part 107 rules which was made public and announced in June 2016. If you want to be a professional drone pilot, you have to know the rules and be compliant in all certificates that they will require.
The FAA part 107 certification which is the Remote Pilot Certification also known as the “drone license” allows you to sell your aerial drone photos and videos and to charge money for the drone services you’ve done. Where do these pictures and videos used? This can be used for conducting aerial inspections, collecting aerial data, and surveying/mapping areas of land from an aerial perspective.
In flying your drone, you really need to follow the FAA part 107 rules. If you don’t follow and even fly drones without a drone license, the FAA can issue you a fine up to $27,500 for civil penalties and/or up to $250,000 for criminal penalties. You can read through the summary of the Part 107 rules here – https://www.faa.gov/uas/media/Part_107_Summary.pdf
There are many areas of work where you can use your abilities as an FAA-certified drone pilot. These are job opportunities and big trends to choose from like drones in real estate, drones in construction/mining, drones in filmmaking, drones in public safety, drones in agriculture, transportation and a whole lot more.
So have you decided to take the FAA part 107 test and be a professional drone pilot? If yes, then you can take this test at an FAA-approved knowledge testing center. You need to go to the PSI website (https://faa.psiexams.com/faa/login) then select ‘Unmanned Aircraft General – Small’ from the drop down menu and there you can locate a testing center by address, city or zipcode. Sounds easy, right? The test consists of 60 multiple-choice questions, which needs to be completed within 2 hours. The minimum passing score is 70% (that means, you’ll need to get at least 42 questions right). There are also many study guides that will help you pass the test. In fact, FAA has a list of free PDFs you can use to study for the test! Find it here – https://www.faa.gov/uas/resources/policy_library/#107
From the time the FAA was announced back in 2016 until now, there were few things that changed and more changes are expected in the next few years. Changes include developing a digital system (LAANC) for authorizing drone pilots to fly in controlled airspace. There were also changes in the recertification process, modified its drone marketing requirement, added new locations to the list of restricted off-limits sites and they even increased surveillance and started conducting ramp checks. All of these and more can be found in the FAA’s website – https://www.faa.gov/
Be informed and be aware before flying your drone. After all, it’s your responsibility to follow these rules when you start to enjoy this hobby and even use it to make money in the future.
The Bell Vertical Robotics Competition is one of the celebrated competitions presented by the Robotics Education and Competition Foundation or REC Foundation. Its mission is to increase student interest and involvement in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). They do this by engaging students in hands-on, affordable and sustainable robotics engineering programs. By hosting these kinds of competitions, they are able to give students a great avenue to improve and hone their STEM skills. The REC foundation likes to look at new programs that they can bring to peak interests of students that are interested in a larger scale of mobile robotic programs.
Competitions registration opens as early as the months of March to June and competition proper is held each weekend of November. The 2022 season will feature events in Texas, Michigan and Maryland. The season will have a culminating activity and championship activities on 3rd of December 2022 at Bell HQ in Fort Worth, TX.
The pricing per team is $4,000 that includes complete custom-made aerial and ground robotics kit – no additional costs for individual parts, batteries, etc., access to technical resources and support – no prior drone experience needed and competition event registration.
Through these kinds of activities, students get to learn about engineering, assembly of drones, ground vehicles and through this competition, it encourages students to do more and makes these kinds of activities sustainable. It challenges the kids to build drones from the ground up and great problem solving skills are being developed in this particular competition.
The cool thing about this activity is its unique way of handling the competition itself where they have a multi-model aspect to it – from ground vehicles to aerial vehicles and even communication between the two.
This competition is a great way to provide outreach to the students who want to get involved in robotics and STEM activities. This can also be an opportunity for them to meet new friends, create connections and simply just share best practices that can build their STEM skills even more.
As REC Foundation’s vision writes, they see and believe in a future where lifelong learners emerge confidently even with failures on the side, they still persevere and embrace STEM as part of their future and definitely make this world a better place.
This blog is written to assist instructors on which drone they should buy for their school and companies or sites where they can buy those. This includes factors you need to consider when you are integrating drones into your STEM education or curriculum. This will help you decide which drones will best meet your needs for your class.
How to buy educational drones for kids in school
There are different ways to buy drones for your school, but you have to consider your purpose of buying. Is it for a wide classroom set up, individuals or few students in the classroom? Also, as an educator, you have different needs compared to other users.
Make sure to buy from someone or a company that has been with the industry for quite some time and understands very well STEM education and has a team that can best support the teachers. Support is really essential especially when you encounter technical issues or have some questions that only technical support can answer.
Check all latest releases of drones as technology is advanced these days and having new models or versions of drones is usual. Be aware of the online discounts being offered when purchasing. Don’t be in a rush and take some time to consider things and do your research.
Make sure to buy drones that are long lasting as you are using them for school. Find drones that are designed especially for the classroom as there are toy drones that don’t often last long after a couple of usage.
New releases of drones by companies are normally informed to their resellers. They should be able to know when it will be available for sale and its stock availability.
Talk to someone who will dig down deep to understand your needs as an educator and what your goal is in your drone class. That person definitely knows more than you about drones as that’s what they are selling and they can surely give you accurate information and advice.
Where to buy?
We use Robolink drones because they are one of the best educational drone companies that offer the most innovative and state-of-the-art drones.Their free online resources, after-sales service and accessories are commendable. The hardware itself is excellent to be used in class. We first test the drones to see its maximum performance and we resell those once we confirm the quality of them. Fortunately, we’ve never had any of their drones that we tried and failed though there are some technical issues that we need support with which is pretty common with any technology. We test other products to compare them with one another so our advice would be more accurate and helpful for everyone reading it.
CoDrone Mini is a miniature programmable drone at a much more affordable price. With its smaller propellers, the ability to flip, a rounded frame, and lighter form factor, this drone is suitable for younger audiences who are interested in getting into programming with drones. It’s also a great starter drone. CoDrone Mini is for younger audiences. It is small and has a durable build. Lessons and tutorials can be accessed for free through Robolink’s learning site. You can fly it around and make it do acrobatics with the remote, with block coding using Blockly for CoDrone, or with text-based coding using Python.
Coding Languages: Python, Blockly
Age: 10 y/o+
Drone Ratio: a classroom of 24 students for a 1:2 ratio. No more than 2 students to a drone.
We haven’t tried this product but this seems like the most perfect drone for the classroom that Robolink will ever release.
CoDrone EDU is an excellent way to learn 21st century technical skills with its programmable lights, flight patterns, and access to 7 sensors. It has a stable connection with its 2.4 GHz RF communication with 50-meter range. The company uses RF for better stability in the classroom. It also comes with a remote controller so it’s ready to fly right out of the box!
Coding Languages: Python, Blockly
Age: 12 y/o+
Drone Ratio: a classroom of 20 students for a 1:2 ratio. No more than 2 students to a drone.
Over the years, drones have become popular because of their practical uses especially in the field of education to learn coding and programming. As more drones are being introduced in the market, it is hard to know what’s best for individuals, students, teachers, drone enthusiasts, etc. In this blog, I will introduce you to a newly designed drone that is perfect for both home and school.
Robolink has made its huge break with their first self-driving car kit which means that they are an experienced company when it comes to coding and programming. They have successfully funded 4 Kickstarter campaigns since 2015 and raised up to 500% above their goals.
With their CoDrone series, Pro, Lite and Mini, comes a one-of-a-kind programmable drone designed for the classroom!
Meet CoDrone EDU!
CoDrone EDU is an excellent way to learn 21st century technical skills with its programmable lights, flight patterns, and access to 7 sensors. It has a stable connection with its 2.4 GHz RF communication with 50-meter range. The company uses RF for better stability in the classroom. It also comes with a remote controller so it’s ready to fly right out of the box!
138.8 x 138.5 x 34.8 mm
2.5 meters per second
9 kilometers per hour
2.4 Ghz RF communication
50-meter range RF communication
7-8 min flight time per charged battery
CoDrone EDU is best for kids grades 6 and up, especially designed for middle school and above.
Same as the other CoDrone series, CoDrone EDU comes with free online lessons for students and free lesson plans for teachers. It can be programmed with Python (a text-based coding language) and Blockly (a block-based coding language).
Artificial Learning is a challenging and exciting field of study and one that currently impacts our lives and more in the future as we enter the world of more advanced technology. The modern generation gives the companies, especially the big ones like Google, Microsoft, etc., more reasons to invest heavily in AI research and the results are promising. As AI growth is rapid, it would be worth it for companies to exert effort and time to be updated with the latest and useful online resources. I personally picked out some of the best resources to avoid slipping behind the field and keep yourself up to date.
MIT App Inventor
MIT App Inventor is a visual programming tool to build fully functional apps for Android and iOS smartphones and tablets right in your web browsers. This will enable even beginning students to create original AI applications that would have been advanced research a decade ago. This creates new opportunities for students to explore the possibilities of AI and empowers students as creators of the digital future.
AI with MIT App Inventor includes tutorial lessons as well as suggestions for student explorations and project work. Each unit also includes supplementary teaching materials: lesson plans, slides, unit outlines, assessments and alignment to the Computer Science Teachers of America (CSTA) K12 Computing Standards.
Calypso is a human-friendly robot intelligence framework to learn rule-based robot programming and computational thinking. It is supported in part by a grant from the National Science-Foundation, and by a gift from Microsoft Research. It is suitable for all ages and it works with any Cozmo robot, which can be ordered separately.
Calypso costs $14.95 that comes with free curriculum activities to guide you to experiment with computer vision, speech recognition, and artificial intelligence. It works well with Windows and MacOS.
Skeletal Tracking AI analyzes a person’s pose in an image or video by identifying key points on a person’s face and body such as nose, eyes, ears, and joints like shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees and ankles.
Skeletal tracking works once AI identifies your key points. It will track your movements and determine your pose or gestures. See the sample image below where AI is tracking the nose, eyes, ears and shoulders.
It will teach you about how we use a camera to estimate body poses which will be used for a game called Brick Breakers. Keep in mind that when you’re training your AI with this app, you’ll want to make sure your poses for moving the paddle left and right are easily identifiable from one another to get the best results.
Cognimates is an AI education platform for building games, programming robots & training AI models.
This platform is best for kids ages 7-12. They can program and customize embodied intelligent devices such as Amazon’s smart speaker and the social robot Jibo. It is based on the Scratch 3.0 open source block language created at the MIT Media Lab. Programming is done by connecting visual blocks together from each Cognimates extension.
You can play with a pre-trained model using the “Feelings” extension in the Cognimates codelab to get a taste of what machine learning can do. They have many projects using different extensions like Twitter or using different types of models from vision to text training.
Cognimates Codelab comes with 5 different components where children program their projects: navigation bar, blocks library, coding area, stage area and sprites menu
The eCraft2Learn project is based on the premise of learning by making. It enables children, as well as non-expert programmers, to build AI programs. They developed a set of extensions to the Snap! programming language to make it happen. The blocks are available as projects to download and then import into Snap! or Snap4Arduino. eCraft2Learn is recognized in digital fabrication and making DIY technologies especially 3D modelling and 3D printing.
They provide different libraries that you can import into your existing or new projects. Following are some of those:
Enabling your sprites to speak in over a hundred languages. Project or library.
Enabling your sprites to listen to speech in over a hundred languages. And to recognize sounds. Project or library.
Machine Learning For Kids is a free tool to help school children learn about artificial intelligence and machine learning by letting them make things with it. Scratch and App Inventor are used to teach children around the world about coding. Machine Learning For Kids extends Scratch by adding these models to help children create projects and build games with the machine learning models they train.
Machine Learning For Kids provides an easy-to-use guided environment for training machine learning models to recognise text, numbers, images, or sounds. It is entirely web-based and requires no installs or complicated setup to be able to use.
AI for Teachers is a website dedicated to supporting the integration of Artificial Intelligence knowledge throughout K-12 learning. The company’s ultimate vision is to fundamentally change the understanding of AI in society, and to create ethical thinkers and leaders for this transformative technology.
They offer free professional development, webinars, conference presentations, and peer-to-peer learning opportunities to all types of educators and grade levels as they believe that educators need high quality curated resources and a supportive community in order to navigate the challenges of integrating new content into their existing classes.
They have a bunch of teaching resources such as courses, activities, online tools, lesson plans, curriculums, reference guides, audio and video materials, etc. to get what you need instantly for your class to integrate AI concepts.
Explore AI Ethics is a curated directory of educational resources for teaching and learning about the ethics of artificial intelligence. Each page contains either a short excerpt from the resource, a press release, a video, or in cases where permission has been granted, the full text.
This resource would benefit the teachers to be aware of how AI intersects with their discipline and to explain the ethical issues to students. This also helps technology teams to develop AI software that is safe, trustworthy and transparent. And for citizens and lawmakers to be guided to help them engage in an educated discussion about public policy for AI. It provides a small sampling of the wide range of materials available to help you understand, practice and promote the responsible use of artificial intelligence.
The site is organized with recommended resources for higher education teachers, K-12 teachers, students, policy makers, programmers and everyone not included in any category.
They also have videos, articles, books, curriculum, discussions, documentaries, events, guidelines, lectures, news, online courses, reports and tools that will guide you to learn more and update your knowledge about AI.
Code.org is a nonprofit dedicated to expanding access to computer science in schools and increasing participation by young women and students from other underrepresented groups. This resource is supported by generous donors including Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, the Infosys Foundation, Google and many more.
The majority of their students are young women and students from marginalized communities and ethnic groups. Their course goal is to improve diversity in Computer Science (CS) among US students, inspire them, reach classrooms, prepare new CS teachers, change school district curriculum, set up policies to support CS and go global.
Code.org builds tools for students to make their own apps and games. They offer a full course catalog of courses, hour of code for those who don’t have time for a full length course, and a local after-school program, summer camp or schools to learn in person. They have courses for students in grades K-12 and professional learning for teachers.
They have over 180+ million projects created which include project descriptions, tips, and demo projects students can remix to make their own!
Their mission is to advance equity in learning, education and computational action to rethink and innovate how to holistically and equitably prepare diverse K-12 students.
They developed a wide range of learning units for K12 AI Literacy that are available under Creative Commons licensing. They also offer professional development to educators who want to bring AI Literacy to their school. They continue to create new technologies, activities, practices and programs for real-world impact in homes, schools, afterschool programs and online communities.
They also have collected a set of external websites, projects, curricula, and applications that allow children to get started learning about artificial intelligence and related skills.
Looking for a cool and exciting gift for a teen daughter, niece or sister? Teen girls nowadays are not into cute bags and accessories anymore, they would prefer awesome new trends in gadgets and gizmos. Here are top STEM kit gift ideas for your cool & amazing girls where they can enjoy and at the same time learn from.
– Apple AirTag is great for teens who would often lose stuff like keys, mobile phones and backpacks. It is a super easy way to keep track of your stuff – just attach it to your things and voila, they’re on your radar in the Find My App on your apple devices. You can set a sound on the built-in speaker so that if it’s hiding nearby, you can just follow the sound and simple as that, your search is over. This device sends out a secure Bluetooth signal that can be detected by nearby devices in the find my network and this device will send the location of your Airtag to iCloud, then you can go to the Find My app and see it on a map. Now this is one powerful way that you can give to your teens especially when they tend to misplace stuff that often.
Oculus Go Standalone Virtual Reality
– Oculus Go Standalone VR is one cool gadget that will put real excitement to your girls’ playtime activities. Oculus Go is a standalone virtual reality headset developed by Facebook Technologies in partnership with Qualcomm and Xiaomi. It is indeed a whole new way to watch in Virtual Reality! It has crystal clear optics and incredible 3D graphics and the headset feels like a personal theater. Watch a movie, catch a sold-out concert from a front row seat or just play any games with friends from around the world. This device is the best gift as it is portable and designed with no wires, no PC and no phone to drop in. You also can choose from a thousand games, social apps, experiences and so much more!
– CoDrone Mini is the perfect gift for those who would like to have fun with drones and also learn to code at the same time. CoDrone Mini is a mini drone that makes coding an easy and friendly activity for everyone. Learn how to code this drone to fly in patterns and even do flips – the best part is that it comes with free online lessons. All you need to do is to go to their website at https://learn.robolink.com/course/codrone-mini-with-python/ and there is a wide array of lessons to choose from. You can choose from either Blockly or Python programming when you use this super cute but powerful drone. Your girls will truly enjoy it and even have their critical thinking skills developed which is an important skill when they grow up to be professionals.
DJI Mini 2 Fly More Combo – Ultralight
– Another mini drone that your girls will also love is the DJI Mini 2 Fly More Combo drone. This is super easy to control and it also has great features for beginners with it’s user-friendly features like Automatic Takeoff, Automatic return to home, and Quickshot options to create incredible, cinematic shots with just a tap. Get the essential fly more combo accessories and you will have extra batteries and propellers that you can use for more practice. This is also good for capturing Instagram worthy shots of family road trips up the coast or day trips to the lake. This drone allows you to zoom 4x so it can shoot from a distance, whether you’re shooting your favorite pet or your friends running by the beach. QuickTransfer is another awesome feature that DJI Mini 2 has – it will allow you to download your amazing content for easy upload to your social media accounts or to send to your family and friends.
Charging Cord Bracelet
– Another necessity for teen girls today is how they can charge their gadgets anywhere, anytime. Make it convenient for them by giving them Charging Cord Bracelet – it is a sleek and fashionable bracelet that you can wear and a charging cable all at the same time! The understated braided leather is accented with zinc metal and doubles as a charging cord. This is compatible with iPhones, iPads, and can be used with lightning, USB-C and micro-USB connectors. You can easily connect it to USB ports, power banks, laptops and more. The braided leather bracelet is a fraying protection to the cord itself and it is also water resistant. Teen girls nowadays would need to have a cable on hand and what a better way to have it in a stealthy and attractive way.
– Another cute yet educational gift for young girls is Zumi. It is the first educational self-driving car kit that teaches Artificial Intelligence (AI) to everyone, especially to young girls who are robot enthusiasts! Learn basic robotics and how AI works by training Zumi to navigate in an environment of your choice. The more she learns the environment, the better she becomes at navigating. Learn computer vision, Python and machine learning with Zumi! What’s good about this amazing robot is it has an open-source technology, which means source code is freely available to use, modify and redistribute. It is made affordable so that everyone can play. Girls will love to play with it and also build their critical thinking skills which are integral for tomorrow’s workplace.
Smart Lighting Panels
– A teen girl’s life will not be complete with all her selfie pictures and great photos on Instagram. Lighting is everything as they say and with Smart Lighting panels, they can enjoy different colors of lights that will make different moods for their pictures. They can even make their rooms different by installing these incredible Light panels in their walls. Start your wall-mounted masterpiece with one or more kits – choose from Hexagon, Triangle or mini triangles. Each piece snaps together to form an infinite number of geometric designs, so they can decorate their walls with different looks. Bring each tile to life with just a gentle tap and there’s even an app that activates built-in audio sensors to follow the music’s beats, sounds and melodies. But wait, there’s more! Switch to mirror mode to match the tones and hues of your smart TV to the panel’s palette, enhancing movie nights, video gameplay or even sporting events.
Cell Phone Jail
– Your teen girl will definitely laugh at this novelty gift item and it is also a fun way of controlling their access to their mobile phones – with space up to 6 phones, the Cell phone jail can be used as a fun way to lock up their phone until chores or homework are done. If you want to try to get things done as well, just lock your phone up and hand your key to a loved one or friend, telling them not to hand you the key until your task is finished. It has a special design to ensure that phones cannot be taken out while locked and with a secure locking mechanism, no one will get into the cell phone jail without you knowing.
Wacom Drawing Tablet
– Some girls might want to draw and to tap on the artsy side of them, the Wacom drawing tablet is a perfect gift. With a light, super accurate pen that comes with free downloadable software, it is best for girls to bring their wildest ideas to life. Nowadays, digital drawing, painting or photo editing are trending and Wacom has everything you need to make it happen. It’s easy to set up and use and gives you up to three unique creative applications for you to download, and did I mention that it’s free! The pen also has Electro-Magnetic Resonance (EMR) technology that makes drawing naturally easy, it’s like drawing with a normal pen and paper. This battery free pen has 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity which provides a natural drawing experience that can keep going as long as you do. It also has an ergonomic and light weight design which allows you to experience both precision and control.
We are now in the world bound into advanced leaps and high technology. Almost everything is being programmed through a computer. And the language that runs those things in a computer is called coding. Without it, the computer can’t carry out the command and perform the task. In simple words, coding is used by computers to understand our commands and process the requests.
Kids these days should have activities that would boost their interests and get rid of their boring moments. Having them learn from a workbook and a pencil is surely a losing bet. As they are now called the gadget generation, hitting their interest in computers and gadgets, would most likely be the most effective way to get them to enjoy and learn. It’s like hitting two birds with one stone.
We’ve listed below the best coding educational tools for K-12 students.
The business behind the Osmo brand is Tangible Play Inc. which was founded in 2013 by Pramod Sharma and Jerome Scholler. According to their site, “by 2014, the first three Osmo games, Newton, Tangram, and Words, were launched to universal praise from parents, educators, industry experts, and most importantly, with overwhelming support (and giggles) from our most challenging critics, children.”
Osmo coding starter kit is a hands-on coding adventure designed for 5-10 years old. They can learn coding as they connect colorful blocks of code in the physical world to chart the adventure on their screen. It is being offered at an affordable price of $76.74.
Osmo Coding Starter Kit introduces kids to coding block by block. Kids can progress from basic coding concepts to complex problem solving. With Osmo’s 3 major designed games, from basic level to advanced level, kids will learn coding basics, sequencing loops, creative coding, rhythm, harmony and melody, collaboration and team work and advanced problem solving. Teachers in schools can teach coding with this at an age-appropriate pace. They can start the adventure in Coding Awbie, create music with Coding Jam, and then show off their advanced skills in Coding Duo!
The team that brings this mini quadcopter into life is Robolink Inc. that was established in San Diego, California in 2012 to encourage students to engage with STEM. According to their website, “The world is becoming more technology-driven, so it’s increasingly important that we cultivate the next generation of innovators and inventors and make technology accessible to all.”
CoDrone Mini is the newest programmable drone of Robolink next to its siblings, CoDrone Pro and CoDrone Lite. It is a mini drone that can fit in the palm of your hand with a pocket-sized remote controller. It’s not just a toy but also an educational tool that can be programmed with Python (text-based coding) and Blockly (drag-and-drop coding). Your kids can have fun while learning to code. Learn to create their own drone adventures such as flips and perform acrobatics.
CoDrone Mini is safely designed for everyone, especially for kids. It’s durability ensures limitless fun. With some bumps and crash landings, CoDrone Mini would still work, best for younger ones.
Each CoDrone Mini includes:
1 CoDrone Mini remote
1 LiPo battery (battery life is approximately 5 minutes)
1 battery charger (average charging time is approximately 30 minutes)
1 USB cable
1 set of extra propellers
The individual kit costs $89.99 while the classroom set of 12 kits is at $1,025.00 with free 30-min Virtual Professional Development. Both offers can have access to their free online tutorials.
From the famous computer company that enables digital transformation, Microsoft, comes this free online learn-to-code platform that brings computer science to life with fun projects.
Teachers can use this tool to show the students to introduce coding for hardware control, engineering, art, etc. So this is best for robotics clubs, makerspaces and science classes. Teachers can start from the introductory courses or have students work on individual projects.
They provide you with step-by-step tutorials and skillmaps that walk you through fun projects while you learn new skills.
CodeMonkey was established in 2014 and they started their Coding adventure from there with their text-based coding game. In the same year, they partnered with Code.org. They continued launching different courses and tools such as Game Builder, Dodo Does Math, Banana Tales, CodeMonkey Jr. and Beaver Achiever.
As their mission statement says, “We aim to create an engaging platform where programming knowledge is acquired alongside 21st century skills through collaboratively playing and solving puzzles, inventing, creating and sharing.”
They offer text-based coding games, block-based coding courses and advanced coding and creation to K-8 schools. They have educational resources suitable for different grades and experience levels. It’s a great way to start students with coding.
Students will learn from the basics of coding with a progression of gaming challenges to learning Python and chatbot interface elements as they program a real chatbot to host a popular guessing game.
Their pricing for individuals and families start from $6 and $12, respectively. While school and district plans are being quoted through a form based on the information you will be providing them.
According to their website, Roblox is ranked as one of the top online entertainment platforms for audiences under the age of 18 based on average monthly visits and time spent. It is powered by a global community of millions of developers using Roblox Studio, their intuitive desktop design tool. It gives everyone the freedom to imagine, create and enjoy it with friends and family as users explore millions of immersive 3D experiences.
Players can get into it easily. You only need to download the Roblox software, create an account, click on any game you want to play, then start downloading, select Roblox and confirm. Once installed, you’ll be able to start playing. It is more than an online entertainment platform as it’s an educational tool that offers free software and curriculum to teach students of all ages computer science, digital citizenship, entrepreneurship, and more.
Just this year, they have started their Roblox Education that features an introduction to coding and game design, code fundamentals, etc. Their lesson plans are designed for educational programs of varying lengths and skill-levels to get things working well and fast in the classroom setup. They have courses and workshops that last from 2 hours to semester long learning programs.
Roblox is completely free to join and free to download.
Have you met Alexa, Siri or even used Google Maps? Yes, they are virtual assistants operated by a system. And that’s what artificial intelligence does for us! It is everywhere and would expand and improve more in the next generations. It is now being introduced as well in schools and as important as coding.
Zumi is the first educational self-driving car kit that teaches artificial intelligence from beginner programmers to robot enthusiasts. It is developed and manufactured by the same company who created the CoDrone Mini, Robolink, Inc. Artificial Intelligence is seen by everyone as complicated but Robolink turned it into something fun and approachable through Zumi.
Zumi learns as you learn. It allows you to configure her effortlessly with the help of Blockly, a block-based coding language. The company started a campaign for Zumi on Kickstarter that raised around $150k. She even won the Best Innovation Award in Robotics and Drone category in CES 2019. Zumi is best for ages 10+, grades 6-12.
This is suitable for classroom teaching as well. Teaching AI to students would be really challenging as the topics are complex. But with the company’s step-by-step tutorials and curriculum that can be accessed online for free, it wouldn’t be that hard for the teachers to introduce it as part of their curriculum in school. Students can learn about self-driving cars, artificial intelligence, robotics, machine learning, computer vision. Robolink also offers Professional Development for educators who want to get trained on how to use Zumi and in the classroom.
The Zumi kit is being offered at $179.99. A classroom set with 10 Zumis is offered to schools or academies to get some discounts at $1,699.99 with 30-min Virtual Professional Development.
Vidcode is for grades 3 and up who want to learn about coding. Unlike other coding companies, Vidcode is founded by three women who are mainly an engineer, an educator and an artist. They support schools, libraries and parents with their 300+ hours of online coding tutorials.
Students could learn coding video filters, video games, special effects, celebrity name generators, haunted houses, simulations and many more.
Their program has over 300 open-ended online coding tutorials, lesson plans, discussions, practice, assessments and project ideas.
This focuses on getting girls involved in computer programming through art videos and showing them different ways that technology can be applied in their lives and hobbies. Vidcode proves that technical skills can be used for a ton of things such as arts and fashion. These days, not boys should be learning coding and programming as it’s also important for girls to learn those because when you think of a coder or a computer person, you normally think of a guy but with Vidcode, it changes the stereotype and lets more women be prominent in the world of coding and programming.
Vidcode is a web-based application where teachers can teach student on how upload their own videos from Instagram or their own files by drag and drop different items and start interacting with the code as they write them, change them and see the real time effects that are made on the video such as filters, changing of motions, etc.
All of their coding tutorials are aligned with CSTA, K-12 pathway, Common Core Math, TEKS, AP Computer Science Principles, ISTE, UK CS, NGSS standards, and state-specific standards. They offer separate tools for teachers to lead discussions, presentations and unplugged activities outside of the tutorials.
They offer free activities for 10 hours when you set up your account. But pricing for the full course starts at $599 for a classroom.
Sphero was founded in 2010 with millions of students, 40,000+ educators, 20,000+ education institutions in 80 different countries. Their mission is to make undeniably cool, programmable robots and STEAM-based educational tools that transform the way kids learn, create, and invent through coding, science, music, and the arts.
Sphero Indi, a robot that is driven and programmed through color. It is the most approachable, entry-level, learning robot for kids ages 4+. indi inspires imaginative play-based learning by empowering kids to design and build their own mazes while teaching critical problem-solving and computational thinking skills. With its on-board color sensor and color tiles, Indi provides endless opportunities to rev kids’ creativity with or without the need of an app.
According to their website, Sphero is the #1 STEAM (STEM + Art) tool for hands-on, standards-aligned PK–12 learning. With the schools’ investment, they can access 1000s of free lessons and activities for computer science, science, math and more.
Sphero indi educational robot student kit is offered at $124.99 while the education robot class pack costs $1,199.99 which includes 8 indi robots, color tiles, storage, a charging case, and standards-aligned lesson plans in our indi Educator Guide Book.
Company behind ROBOTC is Robomatter, established in 2003 in order to bring Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) tools and solutions into the classroom.
ROBOTC is a text-based programming language based on the standard C programming language. It is good for educational robotics and competitions. C language is one of the most powerful computer languages being used on every computer platform and operating system.
You can program VEX Robotics, LEGO and Arduino with RobotC.
C is used to develop billions of dollars of application software worldwide, even the ones you use every day are derived from C programming language like Google, Mac OS, Oracle Adobe Acrobat, etc.
Students who learn in program C will be well equipped to translate their skills to other c-like languages. Learning C programming with ROBOTC opens up a world of opportunities.
Sumo Robot League
P4r75 is the owner and operator of the robotics company, Sumo Robot League. This league is being managed in partnership with HACK Augusta, a non-profit organization in downtown Augusta, Georgia. As the name suggests, robots are built and designed by students to compete in fully autonomous sumo wrestling competitions. Through the matches, students can learn and understand the true meaning of STEM that can help them in their future by getting them prepared as early as now.
They spent a lot of time developing affordable kits, programming classes, and even STEM Teacher Training camps to give students opportunities to learn coding and build a robot of their own.
They provide training , virtual support , a cloud platform and bulk discounts for robotics teams at an affordable price. Their 3-day teacher training and support program with 1 semester of weekly virtual support including a kit, textbook and spare parts is being offered at $750. While you can get the kit alone at $120.
They have different activities that students can do while learning the world of robotics and coding at school such as learning the speed of sound, rotational velocity and speed, timing and intervals and circumference with Dreidel Activity. With their Holly Jolly Robot activity, you can learn programming the buzzer, writing functions, reading from the distance sensor and blinking the LED. With Teacher Activity, you’ll learn the rules of Sumo Robot Competition, how to build a Sumo bot, Sumo bot code to blink the LED, attack objects and compete Sumo style and of course, basic troubleshooting.
Whether you are an individual starting with coding or already a robot enthusiast, a student or a teacher, a family or a school, learning with the best coding tools and curriculum can get you going, improve more and showcase your robotics skills. These are just a list of some companies offering the best coding educational tools for K-12 Schools. You might find more but these, by far, are the best in my list. I hope this helps you hype your interest in introducing your child to the fascinating world of computer science today.