The KUBO Robot with Rikke Paaskesen

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In this episode, we’re talking to Rikke Paaskesen. She is the Educational Curriculum & Community Manager at KUBO Robotics, a Denmark-based edtech company. Rikke Berggreen Paaskesen is a teacher and educational sociologist. She has a broad teaching experience with children and youngsters and has also been teaching students and adults.

Rikke has been Head of Department in Coding Pirates DOKK1, a maker environment and library in Aarhus, Denmark, and she has been specialised in teaching with the use of robot technology. Among others she started up the elective subject RoboTech at a Boarding School for teens. 

The moment we got in touch, Rikke was just spending time in Orlando, Florida, where she was testing new features of the Kubo Robot with students there. 

KUBO World Citizen – the Kubo Robot with some paper crafts attached.
Image: Copyright 2019 Rikke Paaskesen, used with permission

So what is KUBO? It’s a two-wheeled, little robot with color LEDs and also some sound effects. While there is an app available, it’s just used to update the robot in case of updates.

Images: Copyright 2019 Rikke Paaskesen, used with permission

To program the robot, the kids use so-called TagTiles™ – these are puzzle elements that include NFC (Near Field Communication) – a short range communication technology. As the robot moves over these tiles, it is able to pick up the controls or actions that these cards implement. For example you would move over a turn right card to program a turn right action into the robot. 

As the tiles connect, a sequence of actions can be programmed. There are also loop tiles or tiles to change the LED lights of KUBO or make him emit some sound. Using these simple tiles, Kids can learn about loops, functions, even subroutines and recursive functions – that means calling current function from within the same function – a very important coding concept. 

Besides the basic Kubo Coding Tiles that I just talked about, there is now also Coding + and Coding++ which extends the features available. 

Another great idea is The MapMaker:  a web-based software that can be used by educators to create miniature maps that then can be printed. These maps can then be used by students to navigate to a specific place on the map, thereby training their logical and spatial thinking skills.

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