Born with a natural sense of wonder, children rapidly begin to shape their beliefs and feelings about science and technology as early as the age of 2. Driven not only by their language skills but also their curiosity, children are constantly asking questions to make sense of what they see and feel - What is lightning? How does an iPhone work? Why can’t I eat more candy? Yet, today's toys and apps often turn children into passive listeners. They fail to motivate children to seek answers to their questions while exploring the world around them.
We know that toys can play a crucial role in child development (Bers & Cassell, 1998; Kara, Aydin, & Cagiltay, 2014). When used in step with a child’s developmental needs, toys can enhance learning by facilitating key cognitive processes (Butterworth & Harris, 1994). TROBO is designed to fulfil their needs by harnessing the power of storytelling and experiential learning to evoke emotions, spark imagination, and foster a love for learning.
When presented with fun and interesting experiences, children naturally follow a pattern of inquire to explore and seek explanations for the world around them (BCSC, 2005; Bybee, 2002). By connecting the cuddly robot to an iPad, teachers can use TROBO to tell engaging stories about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) with rich interactive multimedia content that integrates both physical and virtual worlds with fun, interactive stories and hands-on experiences that stimulate children’s natural sense of curiosity.
We also believe that it is important to involve children in their learning through storytelling and experiential learning to develop self-efficacy and positive associations with STEM. To engage children in their own learning, children need opportunities to work with others and tell their own stories. TROBO stories and lesson plans encourage young children to write, dramatize, draw and express their own ideas about STEM to reinforce their knowledge and confidence as well as to help teachers identify ways to further their scientific understandings and foster a love for learning.
Our stories are crowdsourced via story contests. Once we have a story script, we work with our team of educational advisers and teachers to vet the storyboards for content and age level. Once the stories have been approved, we move to story production.
Atsusi Hirumi, Ph.D, Associate Professor of Instructional Technology, University of Central Florida.
Deirdre Englehart, Ed.D, Early Childhood Instructor, School of Teaching, Learning and Leadership, University of Central Florida.
Gina Cole, M.Ed in Higher Education Administration and a B.S. in Elementary Education from Auburn University. She homeschools her three children age 3-11