This is a guest post by Lee Ung, the founder of Learning Lab Kobe, a personalized learning center that provides 1-on-1, small group and extracurricular, educational programming in Kobe, Japan. We sent Lee one of the first Codey Rocky units to let her try our latest coding robot together with her students and then share her thoughts on it as an educational tool.
What is the Codey Rocky?
So many sensors…
So a lot of the kids I used the Codey Rocky with already have experience with the mBot coding robot. Aside from the Scratch-based, mBlock 5 programming interface, there are a lot of areas where the mBots and the Codey Rocky stand apart.
Mainly, where the mBot is fairly straightforward as a customizable robot with a few sensors (distance sensor & line detector sensor), the Codey Rocky is an entirely different beast.
A programmable robot & a controller
The biggest thing for me about the Codey Rocky is the controller head. The panda head of the robot is also a game controller with 3 buttons, a volume controller, USB-C port and a power button. It’s loaded withBasically, if my kids create a Scratch-style, block -based game on mBlock5, they can program it to play it with the panda controller head (instead of a mouse or keyboard).
To me, that functionality immediately raises the potential of the Codey Rocky ten fold. The reemergence of retro-styled games, like Flappy Bird, Minecraft, and mobile apps, means that my students would kill to be able to create a video game that can be played with an actual controller.
I’ll be posting a video about this soon…as soon as I figure out how to code my own version of Flappy Bird in mBlock 5.
Connect to the Internet of Things (IoT)
This is an area where I don’t think Japan has quite caught up to the rest of the world, at least where I am in Kansai. It seems like every other private school kid got a Google Home this last Christmas but, aside from talking to Google, do they really know how to use the IoT features?
The Codey Rocky can connect to your devices, which means you can program it to get a weather report for you or send notifications to your smartphone.
Here a brush-up on the “what” of the Internet of Things (IoT)? And here, my families are still blown away by App Inventor.
Summary: Codey Rocky is a powerful statement about coding “toys”.
In terms of features, the Codey Rocky is nothing like anything I’ve ever seen. It’s way more than I expected and a daunting vision of what programming education could be at this very moment, but probably isn’t yet.
Not only is it powerful tech, but it’s so accessible. I think the most ringing endorsement I can give for it is that the Codey Rocky is clearly designed to grow with the coder. As the coder learns, they can access the higher functions of the Codey Rocky.
I’m going to be getting a bunch of these for this year’s Makers Camp (sign up if you haven’t already!). It is a wicked bot.
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