Kindergarten classes are in for a delightful surprise as tiny BeeBots help kindergarteners learn about technology. They’re wide-eyed, smiling robots and they have rolled into Boston’s kindergarten classes servimg as high-tech instructors. Their job is to prepare the kids for the world of the 21st century.
There’s no cause for alarm. These 5-inch-tall “Bee-Bots,” are simple robots that the kids can program to go forward, backward and turn.
“For a good technology future, you need to bring the technology down to the younger kids,” said Ann-Marie Cunniff, a kindergarten teacher at the Quincy Elementary School in Chinatown.
The Bee-Bots require the students to plan out a route, “write a program,” and then run their basic code. The most valuable learning, Cunniff said, comes from having to plan out each step the robot will take.
“You’re going to take things from the concrete to the abstract,” she said. “(The Bee-Bot is) a tool that is going to let you do so many things for a developing brain.”
“It is a core mission to integrate technology into our core curriculum,” said Mark Racine, BPS chief information officer.
“We want to start very early on and give all of our students an opportunity to see what computer programming is.”
Plans for technology education in the schools include:
• ??A Robotics Olympics at the Wentworth Institute of Technology Saturday.
• Robotics programs in the upper grades.
•????Adding 10,000 Google Chromebooks to classrooms.
• Boosting WiFi in every classroom.
“This is all building towards something, we’re going to become a digital district,” said BPS spokesman Lee McGuire. “Everything we do is involving technology in some way, because it enhances learning.”