The educational acronyms of the 21st century look a bit different from those of previous generations. The “Three R’s” (which, confusingly enough, weren’t even R’s to begin with) have since largely been replaced by STEM, and parents of the newest generation are doing everything they can to better prepare their progeny for success in an increasingly digitized world.
Updated on 04-07-2016 by Lulu Chang: Cubetto finishes Kickstarter campaign as the most funded ed-tech project to date.
Key to that success appears to be an early start — an extremely early start — when it comes to learning important skills like computer programming and other technical talents. Here to help is Cubetto, and adorable little wooden robot that is specifically designed for pre-literate children ages 3 and older that teaches the basics of computer programming and STEM, sans screen.
A true testament to just how much parents love their children (or want their children to be better than everyone else’s children), Cubetto managed to raise over $300,000 from 1,420 backers within the first few days of its Kickstarter launch, and on April 7, it concluded its campaign by breaking records. Ultimately, the toy raised a stunning $1,596,458 from 6,553 backers, blowing past its original goal of just $100,000.
Part of the appeal, doubtless, is the truly delightful nature of the toy. Comprising a friendly wooden robot, a physical programming console (board) with a set of 16 colorful coding blocks, and a beautifully designed map and activity book, the Cubetto playset promises to create an equal learning environment that promotes inclusive play. It doesn’t matter if your child is a boy or a girl, has a learning disability, or is non-sighted, the Cubetto combines movement, touch, and sound to get children excited about learning and, as a result, learning faster.
Essentially, Cubetto works by having children “program” using a series of colorful “coding blocks.” In order to program the robot, simply slide different color blocks into the board, each of which is linked to a different command (like forward, left, right, or loops). The goal is to get Cubetto to move from one side of the console to the other, all by way of rudimentary computer programming.
“Learning to program in early years is essential, but it should also be fun, playful, and age appropriate,” said Filippo Yacob, co-founder and CEO of Cubetto. “Our mission is to help children develop and realize their full creative potential. Cubetto is an open-ended toy that makes learning computer programming fun and easy to grasp. We’re proud to offer children ages three and up an inclusive, interactive playset that teaches them the basic concepts of programming before they learn to read or write.”
Randi Zuckerberg, one of the primary investors in Cubetto notes, “When I think about backing a product or a company, I ask myself, ‘Would I want this product in my own home?’ and ‘Would I give this to my kids?’” Clearly, her answer is “yes.” Zuckerberg went on to say that, “What I love most about Cubetto is that it will give girls and boys all over the world the opportunity to learn the basic building blocks of coding, without being glued to a computer screen. As a mom, that’s my dream.”
If you’d like a Cubetto for yourself (or your children), you can currently pre-order one of these programming games for $195 on Kickstarter.