5 More Physical Computing Devices for the Classroom

Following last week’s article with my first batch of great classroom physical computing devices, there were so many that I couldn’t include. Here I am sharing another handful of brilliant programmable classroom devices that are worth considering when creating your curriculum offer.

Bee-bots

The original classroom control device! Bee-bots are a truly robust solution, and adorn most early years settings thanks to their simple interface and unrivalled following of character covers, accessories, map mats and resources. There are simply so much bee-bot support material online that there is unlikely to be a context or curriculum subject that you cannot find bee-bot lesson resources available for. Now available as a rechargeable version, or the Blue-bot, which is transparent and shows its inner workings. Look out for next week’s article comparing the various versions in more detail, and following that a round up of Bee-bot resource sites.

View Bee-bots

Terrapin Logo Virtual Bee-bot online

Bee-bot iOS App

Visit TTS Bee-bots

LEGO Mindstorms EV3

Robotics in the classroom? Yes, please! LEGO Mindstorms EV3 brings the fun and familiarity of LEGO and the power of coding together, allowing students to build and program their own robots. EV3 brings together the modular LEGO building combined with intuitive drag-and-drop coding, similar to many other blockly languages. EV3 comes with a range of sensors and motors to create various robot creations. LEGO Mindstorms EV3 is not just about coding; it’s about problem-solving, engineering, and collaboration. Students work in teams, design robots to tackle challenges, and iteratively improve their designs.

Lego Mindstorm EV3

Visit Lego Mindstorms

VEX Robotics

VEX offers a series of robotics kits suitable for early years right through to higher education. They have a comprehensive range of kits, add on sets to extend the base functions, and resource  and instruction sets to either build predefined robots or investigative projects. There are a number of competitions that focus on VEX robotics, to extend what might be done in a class or club. VEX has grown into a comprehensive solution for schools looking to take robotics and programming more seriously, and wanting something with great scaffold for teachers as well as robust kits that will last well over time.

VEX Go Kits for Schools

Vex Crossbow

Vex Hexcalator

Vex Hookshot

Vex Crane

Visit Vex Robotics.com

Ozobot

Ozobot is something a little different. They are a tiny robot that can be programmed using colour-coded lines or through a block-based coding language. In this way it is suitable for two different stages of understanding of algorithms and programming. Firstly by being able to programme via coloured pens on paper, which the robot will follow and respond to the meaning of the changes in colour, this is a very simple and highly visual and engaging way to see your code come to life. Secondly with a block based coding option as well, It’s a great tool for introducing students to the concepts of programming. A range of kits, sets and resources area available to buy from the ozobot website.

Visit Ozobot Website

Arduino Starter Kit

Arduino is an open-source electronics platform that’s perfect for budding inventors. The starter kit provides everything needed to begin a journey into electronics and programming. This includes a collection of sensors, LEDs, motors, and more. Arduino is a user-friendly interface for coding, and can be expanded via a lively online community and resource bank. Learners can create interactive electronic objects, understand the science behind them, and develop foundational coding skills. It’s a holistic approach to technology education.

Visit Arduino website

Arduino starter kit

I hope this is useful to you – let me know in the comments and on social what your thoughts are about each device. Don’t forget last week’s article Top 5 Physical Computing Devices for the Classroom and look out for an upcoming comparison of the popular circuit board based physical computing devices.


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