This week, we sent Jett off to school, and to commemorate the occasion, we’re sharing three lessons you can learn from Jett – a facially expressive, social, humanoid robot who aims to create a visual coding experience for young learners. These lessons transcend basic coding skills and lay the groundwork for life in a tech-savvy world.
Jett is already teaching students in Texas and New Jersey the skills they need to be star coders and programmers, and soon, the robot will be imparting lessons to learners everywhere. As Jett heads into classrooms around the country, here are three lessons to consider:
First things first: make sure you have everything you need. Every day, Jett comes to school with his own curriculum, ready to go out of the box. Jett begins every school year with the basics, starting with simple lessons before progressing to complex topics. Before diving into the program, students are able to program a virtual avatar that can look like them, with different options for hair, skin and gender.
Jett’s standards-based curriculum pulls from the University of California at Berkeley’s Snap! early programming language. Students can learn at their own speed and from any location – during the school day, before or after class, from home, or as part of an extracurricular group. Whether it’s lesson one or 101, students work at their own pace, following a continuum of learning that encourages creativity and collaboration.
Creativity looks different for everyone. When you’re working with Jett, there’s no emphasis on right or wrong. If you build something that works, that’s great! And if not, learn from what didn’t work last time and keep trying. This is a safe place to take risks and grow from the results.
Jett’s goal is to empower all children by encouraging them to discover their own agency in their learning experience. Regardless of gender, zip code or background, Jett aims to build confident, independent learners. Beyond programming and coding, students learn valuable life skills applicable to any discipline, including:
- Critical thinking
- Computational thinking
Maybe when you were in third grade, you didn’t know exactly what you wanted to be when you grew up. Maybe you didn’t even know in college. But what we do know is that the spark for STEM careers starts earlier than we think – as early as elementary school.
Jett directly tackles one of the biggest challenges in STEM education, and ultimately the workplace: the shortage of students want to pursue careers in technology. According to the U.S. Department of Education, just 16 percent of high school students said they’re interested in STEM-related careers. As jobs in technology are growing across sectors, it’s even more important to expose young learners to the foundations of computational thinking.
On the first day of school, we all try to remember the advice we were given from those who have been there before. Take it from Jett, a next-generation robot designed to inspire students with a love of STEM: Be prepared, be curious and think big.