Parents @ Play: The art of science meets the science of art

Originally published in the Chicago Tribune

Anyone who loves or even just appreciates science will tell you that there’s something beautiful about it. At the same time, those who love or even just appreciate art, often admire the technique and scientific precision that can go into creating a masterpiece. This week we had a chance to experience several engaging products that blur the lines between art and science.

As far as we know, Augie is the first coding robot that (who?) comes with AR technology. What’s especially cool about Augie is that after introducing the basics of coding (using Blockly), he or she (it?) then grows with your child through six distinct progression-base modes. Your little programmer will soon have Augie dashing around your house, nimbly avoiding obstacles, spinning, and making sounds, all while stealthily stimulating your child’s imagination, critical thinking, logic, and problem-solving skills. The app is free, as are over 60 AR coding tutorials that follow the standards set by Code.org. For ages 5+. Under $95. https://www.pai.technology/augie-1/

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Augie the Coding Robot Featured on CBS News

http://www.cbs8.com/story/39013951/learning-through-play-stem-toys

SAN DIEGO – STEM is an acronym that stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

While most science and technology curriculum that is taught in school today are focused on starting in 7th grade, Jeane Wong, CEO/ Founder, League of Extraordinary Scientists & Engineers (LXS), believes that children benefit from being taught this same curriculum starting as early as possible.

With this in mind and understanding the research, LXS is answering the call by bringing together a literal League of Scientists & Engineers with educators to make available “hands-on-science-ing” to Pre-K to 5th grade learners and in-classroom support for their educators.

Research from the Joan Ganz Cooney Center shows that kids are more excited to learn when they use a tablet or a toy, because it does not feel like forced learning.

Tablets and apps can also help enrich and improve a child’s ability to learn, because their educational experience will be deeper with a more interactive toy. The top STEM toys include:

  • Boolean Box (booleangirltech.com) is a self-contained computer engineering kit for girls (and boys) that encourages them to code, build, invent, and animate.
  • The Curiscope Virtuali-Tee (curiscope.com) is an Augmented Reality T-Shirt that allows children to learn about the human body — on a human body. Getting started is as simple as pointing your phone at the shirt and opening a portal to another reality – the world under your skin!
  • Augie (www.pai.technology) is the first premiere coding robot equipped with augmented reality technology. Developed to introduce children to coding language, it engages imagination and creativity while helping children further enhance critical thinking and problem solving skills.
  • Circuit Conductor (www.pai.technology) teaches children about electricity, currents, and magnets through fun, imaginative Augmented Reality play. Use 12 different electrical function blocks and special insulated wires to build fun circuits and learn about electricity through the free app.
  • Easy-Macro (www.easy-macro.com) Makes your phone camera even better!  Easy-Macro is the simplest, most convenient and easiest to use macro lens available for smartphones. It’s 4x magnification gives your phone’s camera close-up powers that you never thought possible. 20% off with PROMO CODE: STEM.

For more information, visit the League of Extraordinary Scientists & Engineer’s website: science-ing.org.

5 Reasons Students Should Learn to Code

As featured in USA Today!

1. Technology is everywhere

Children attending K-12 were born into a digital world. Some say that computer literacy is as foundational as reading, writing and math. Teaching code not only prepares students for STEM careers, but gives them a better understanding of machines they will interact with the rest of their lives.

2. Programming exercises multiple areas of the brain

A 2014 study found that when people work with source-code, five brain regions are activated related to language processing, working memory and attention. While more research is needed, this indicates early computational thinking can mold multiple regions of the brain.

3. Diversity in STEM begins in PreK-6

In a study conducted by Bayer, more than 77 percent of female and underrepresented minority chemists said gender and race disparity in STEM is caused by lack of encouragement to pursue STEM at an early age. By targeting basic STEM skills like coding, schools can facilitate early interest in STEM careers.

4. The world needs computer scientists

While 71 percent of all new jobs in STEM are in computing according to Code.org, only eight percent of STEM graduates studied computer science. Today’s students could fill those gaps in the job market more easily if they learn coding at an early age.

5. Coding is creative

More than just a science, coding enables students to develop important personal abilities like their sense of creativity and self-expression. When developing code, students impact the world around them while fostering problem-solving skills. Engagement soars when they see real-world connections to lessons they’re learning.

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