Coding & Robotics

Dash Robot Gets Virtual World

Wonder Workshop, the education technology company that introduced Dash and Dot to classrooms, has developed a virtual world with a virtual robot for student access in remote classes. The digital simulation of Dash uses the same Blockly programming tools and curriculum that powers the real robots, and the virtual neighborhood allows students to manipulate Dash through the same movements and interactions.

"Dash's Neighborhood," as it's called, works with the existing coding curriculum, puzzles, challenge cards, previously written programs and Wonder League missions for Dash robot. Code that students write is interchangeable between the virtual and physical worlds; it will also work for students who intend to compete in the Wonder League Robotics Competition, which is taking place online in June.

The company said the new program has been used by 650 educators in beta versions since its introduction during a virtual summit in April. Currently Dash's Neighborhood can be accessed from within the Blockly app on a Chrome browser or on Chromebooks. It is expected to be available for iPads in time for the start of school in the fall. The software is available at no additional cost with a Wonder Class Connect license; and that's available free to teachers through June.

"Dash's Neighborhood is a game changer to get all students in my class coding at the same time," said Tammy Fietkau, a fifth grade math and science teacher at John Milledge Academy in Georgia, in a statement. "Students with no prior coding experience can work step by step in puzzles, whereas students with coding experience can plan a series of code in the virtual world, make virtual Dash run the code, access the same code on their tablet and then watch Dash move through the code. All students are actively engaged, having fun, and being challenged!"

"With the school's closure my students were heartbroken and missed out on our coding unit," added Danyelle Moreno, a STEAM teacher at Westwood Elementary in Friendswood, TX. "With the Dash's Neighborhood simulator my students were able to work on their coding skills and watch Dash follow their commands. At this time, my first and second graders are working on the built-in lessons and are raving about the program!"

Learn more about Dash's Neighborhood on the Wonder Workshop website.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.