Home » Education Technology » Helping children as young as three develop elementary coding skills

Anna Jie Zhou

Head of Education, Matatalab

Alfonsina Cinzia Troisi

Matatalab Certified Educator (MCE) and Genially Ambassador

Technology that enables game-based play — such as programming robots that develop elementary coding skills — can have a positive impact on a child’s formative education.

Educators working with early years and primary school pupils may want to use technological tools to make lessons more engaging. However, it’s crucial to distinguish which tools are most useful and valuable for children in those age ranges. For example, digital tech is available to help children as young as three develop elementary coding skills.

Gain coding skills with robots

One company, Matatalab, has developed hands-on programming robots that kindergarten and primary school pupils can manipulate to explore and create their own stories, scenes and game projects.

Using directional arrows, children guide the robot through a path on a themed map. As their learning progresses, they can use the robot to complete more complex tasks using more complicated logic.

This isn’t about teaching young children programming, explains Anna Jie Zhou, Head of Education at Matatalab. Instead, the idea is to give them technological confidence and encourage computational thinking through play.

“When young children play with the robots, they don’t know they are coding,” explains Zhou. “They just think it’s a toy they are playing with — yet they are controlling the robot through coding. This type of game-based play is a way to get children interested in subjects across the curriculum, and it also gets them communicating with each other.”

When young children play with the robots,
they don’t know they are coding

Anna Jie Zhou

Problem-solving and constructive critical thinking

Alfonsina Cinzia Troisi, Matatalab Certified Educator (MCE) and Genially Ambassador, agrees that this type of technology can have a powerfully positive effect in classrooms. “First of all, it’s a way for teachers to deliver didactic content,” she says.

“Second, it develops problem-solving and constructive critical thinking in children, which are essential soft skills. At the kindergarten and primary school levels, we use storytelling to address fundamental concepts, such as respect for human beings and the environment. We talk about respecting rules at school, recycling, etcetera — and play with these concepts to create a story that will then be interpreted by the robots.”

Troisi believes this type of easy-to-use tech is a way to democratise early-stage education. “That’s because it aims to involve all children — without any distinction or any exclusion, precisely because it is simple and intuitive,” she says.

“Children can shape a learning path based on their learning pace, which is a beautiful thing because they can put their own ideas into practice — not just the teacher’s. It represents a truly powerful learning tool.”

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