Smart Buddies™ – is our new product line focusing on schools, specifically K3-K5. Smart Buddies is a unique new coding solution accompanied with a curriculum that focuses on increasing diversity awareness for students throughout the U.S.
The introduction of Smart Buddies comes at a time when data continues to show a lack of diversity within the STEM workforce and education:
• Women and minorities make up only 20 percent of the STEM workforce
• While over a third of black, Latino, and Native American students enter college with an interest in studying STEM, only 16 percent go on to obtain bachelor’s degrees in these fields
• A gender gap in STEM interest is reported to begin as early as the fourth grade, and continues at various milestones throughout a girl’s school trajectory. By high school, only 11 percent of girls are interested in STEM (Ernst & Young)
Smart Buddies has been created with a diverse set of relatable characters or “buddies” on self-balancing, programmable scooters called “siggys” to allow learners to better envision themselves in STEM and learn how to code. With a focus on storytelling, the new coding solution leverages the Smart Buddies™ app where students are first introduced to their buddies – different role models who have interests in science, engineering, the arts and in addressing systemic and personal issues such as diversity, race, gender differences and conflict resolution. Students are then exposed to the basics of block-based coding by controlling the movements of their characters on their ‘siggys’. Exercises include problem-solving techniques that cover fundamental coding concepts: sequences, loops, events, conditionals, functions, and variables.
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