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New Gameboard Ideas and Curricula Materials Getting Students and Teachers Excited About ​MATATALAB

As part of our product roll-out and development, the team here at MATATALAB has been taking our coding sets on the road — showcasing them at numerous schools, fairs, and shows. And we’re extremely proud to say, matatalab coding sets are proving themselves to be a triumph for learning in STEAM!

Just to re-cap, the matatalab coding set is a block-based, tangible programming tool that allows students to move a robot through an environment by way of a Bluetooth-enabled command tower and board. The set comes with a map that students can navigate around. They direct their robots to an area specified in the challenge booklet, using the suggested coding blocks and their problem-solving prowess.

In some recent shows, we decided to mix it up a bit. We wanted to try a new matatalab coding set environment, with the eventual goal of inspiring students to design their very own. And we’re happy to report — mission accomplished! And as students played and learnt, they also discovered that matatalab coding sets can so easily be integrated with the available materials in a classroom. This was very much the nature of the feedback we received from teachers too, and they commented on how this encouraged challenging, individualized learning.

Let’s take a look at how it all went down!

Unique Gameboards – A Hit with Both Students and Teachers in Guangzhou!

In March, we took matatalab coding sets on the road to a trade show in Guangzhou, China. During this session, we provided the attendees a new, DIY, summer-themed map. This map, complete with tree lined streets, ponds and gardens, really appealed to their sense of adventure as they guided their robots through the maze. Some even used the loop and function blocks; assigning themselves new and exciting challenges.

Teachers commented on how the new map, and the ability to assign themselves tasks, kept kids completely engaged from start to finish. It was also a great way to differentiate the learning. But upon seeing and pondering the features on the new board, the kids got to thinking — “maybe we could design our very own environments using materials from around the class”.

And that’s exactly what they did…

Simply using MATATALAB’s basic, black gameboard as the base, students used paper craft materials to create cities and obstacle courses. You can imagine how much fun they had as they navigated robots around their very own, paper craft creations!

Many teachers commented on how the activity captured student’s attention. Mr. Gao, a 10y after-school STEM teacher said: This toy encourages kids to be creative, and so effortlessly got them learning through play. It was also noted how easy it was to integrate pre-existing classroom resources and learning objectives. Furthermore, by putting a creative, personalized twist on the map creation, it was easy to individualize the learning.

Individualized Challenges and Gameboards at the Guangzhou Science Fair

This month, ​MATATALAB had the privilege of attending the Guangzhou Science Fair. We had a whale of a time and received a lot of positive feedback. Students, teachers, members of the public and the ​MATATALAB team also toyed with an everyday classroom item to design their very own environments and personalized gameplay — colorful building blocks. As you can see, it really enhanced learning and what could be achieved.

Some even went completely freestyle, using lots of blocks within the gameplay area to create more unique challenges and obstacles!

Educators and parents again expressed how impressed they were that matatalab coding sets allow students to create and personalize their learning by building customized environments and challenges. This really is one of the product’s notable features.

Teachers Excited About Incorporating ​MATATALAB Into Everyday Lessons

As you may have gathered, teachers were pretty stoked to see matatalab coding sets in action and ponder how it could be used in their classrooms. In particular, they commended matatalab coding sets on their flexibility and ability to promote individual and differentiated learning. Another common thread was that teachers were impressed with how matatalab coding sets can be so easily integrated into current classroom activities, using easily accessible materials.

In fact, an after-school institute “CodeMan” that MATATALAB worked with in Guangzhou commented on how their teachers were looking forward to mixing MATATALAB’s products with their current courses and resources.

Really this is just one of the many pieces of positive and enthusiastic feedback we have been receiving from early childhood educators about our product, how they intend to integrate it with their current programs, and how it will support their teaching of STEAM.

MATATALAB Excited to Announce the Completion of the Soon to Be Released Curriculum Booklets​

Of course, some teachers still appreciate the guidance of toolkits and curricular documents, especially when getting started. Here at MATATALAB, we provide numerous support documents to help educators in that regard.

With that in mind, we’re pleased to announce that we have completed a draft for our two MATATALB curriculum booklets. These drafts have been forwarded onto educational experts for review, and early indications are that they are impressed with the quality. We will also be passing these documents onto teachers to get their feedback before the final editing process. As was highlighted by the narrative above, we value the feedback from educators and see it as vital to improving our product, coming up with new designs and concepts, and moving forward as a team.

MATATALAB Continues to Promote Individualized Learning

Even though MATATALAB offers curricula materials and lesson guidance, you’ll find that lessons are not tethered in any way, and that they will foster creativity and individualized learning. This was clearly demonstrated in our series of Guangzhou shows and reflected in the subsequent feedback from educators.

We acknowledge that it can be hard to juggle the seemingly strict requirements of teaching standards, whilst encouraging creativity, promoting individualized learning, and differentiating for a whole range of learning profiles. Add to this the need to teach higher order thinking and computational skills. MATATALAB hopes to address all that by providing amazing learning resources that are both engaging and educationally robust.

Another aspect of MATATALAB’s individualized learning approach, which has been clearly demonstrated during our shows, is that it hands over control of the lesson to the students. This has many associated benefits in terms of student learning. But it can also benefit teachers too.

As you may be aware, teacher burnout is a growing problem, with many teachers leaving the profession due to the heavy workload. Lesson planning is one aspect of teaching that requires a large time commitment. While lesson planning will always be a feature of a teacher’s daily routine, one thing that can help is finding resources that encourage children to take responsibility over their own learning. MATATALAB very much supports and encourages student self-development and self-guided learning.

Indeed, MATATALAB’s individualized approach to teaching and learning in STEAM is what makes our product so special.

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