RoboKind debuts new robot to engage students in STEM

RoboKind, a world-renowned company that designs and builds robots to foster social interaction and support STEM, has addressed an issue with robotics head on. Their newest robot is named Jett, and has been designed to have African-American likeness. RoboKind created Jett to increase engagement for African-American students anywhere from kindergarten to high school ages.

Jett will help students gain introductory skills in coding and computer science. He was created to produce lifelike facial expressions to make him interactive and personable. Some of these expressions include:

  • Smiling
  • Frowning
  • Blinking
  • Angry
  • Surprised
  • Sad

Jett will be guided by the Robots4STEM curriculum, which was designed by partnering with Quadrant 4 System Corporation (QFOR), which is a company that focuses on producing digital transformation in healthcare and education. The Robots4STEM curriculum introduces students to computer science, programming, and robotics through project-based coursework. Their purpose is to promote problem solving, critical thinking, and collaborative skills so that students will learn the “5E” strategy of: engage, explore, explain, elaborate, and evaluate.

“Our mission is to enable students, no matter their age or background, to take full advantage of opportunities in STEM,” said Fred Margolin, CEO and founder of RoboKind.

This specific curriculum for Jett was developed at the University of California, Berkley. The premise is that the Robots4STEM curriculum will make a steady progression of computer science skills based on the appropriate grade level. Students will be able to bring Jett to life by mastering computer science concepts as they program his movements and expressions.

“This course can be critical for capturing the interest of African-American students in STEM, and ultimately preparing them for a new economy,” said Shekhar Lyer, president of the QFOR Education Division. “We’re proud to share RoboKind’s dedication to creating equal opportunity in education.”

After testing their Robots4STEM at a pilot school in Texas, the results showed that there would be higher course enrollment. This would increase engagement and excitement for coding. Based on the great feedback, Jett, available in both Caucasian and African-American likeness, along with the Robots4STEM curriculum should be available in the 2017-2018 school purchasing season.

If you or your school is interested in learning more about Jett or want to see a demo, please visit their website.

Sophie Hatch