Pitsco Education, in collaboration with SmartGurlz, announced the launch of Smart Buddies – the newest addition to its K-12 coding and robotics continuum.
Smart Buddies is a new coding solution accompanied by a curriculum that focuses on increasing diversity awareness for third- to fifth-grade students throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Smart Buddies was created with a diverse set of characters, or “buddies,” on self-balancing, programmable scooters called Siggys—as seen in the original SmartGurlz line— to enable learners to better envision themselves working in STEM and coding. With a focus on storytelling, the coding solution leverages the Smart Buddies app, where students are first introduced to their buddies – different role models who have interests in science, engineering, and the arts. These characters address systemic and personal issues such as diversity, race, gender differences, and conflict resolution. Students are then exposed to the basics of block-based coding by controlling the movements of their characters on their Siggys. Exercises include problem-solving techniques that cover fundamental coding concepts such as sequences, loops, events, conditionals, functions, and variables.
“Everything we do at Pitsco Education is rooted in providing future-relevant skills for all learners, regardless of their race, gender, or socioeconomic background,” said Pitsco Education Executive Vice-President and Chief Strategy Officer Stephan Turnipseed. “With Smart Buddies, we are on a mission to help more children identify with STEM, be much more inspired to continue their coding and STEM education journey, and ultimately contribute to bringing much-needed diversity to the STEM workforce.”
Designed to use right after download, the Smart Buddies app is a redesigned version of the block-based programming tool Google Blockly that offers never-ending in-app challenges that aim to keep children engaged.
“Partnering with Pitsco Education supports our focus on creating more opportunities for minorities and underrepresented students,” said Sharmi Albrechtsen, CEO of SmartGurlz. “Pitsco’s long history for contributing engaging STEM education solutions that actually help students connect with their real world enhances our mission for celebrating inclusion and diversity and getting more young minds excited about coding and STEM.”
Smart Buddies will be available for purchase in customizable four-packs throughout the U.S. and Canada, exclusively through Pitsco Education at Pitsco.com/SmartBuddies, beginning this September.