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Apii Avarua kids get hands-on with fun coding robot

Friday 10 May 2024 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Education, National


Apii Avarua kids get hands-on with fun coding robot
Apii Avarua students Isla Farmer (left), Heidi Farmer, Kevin Aviu, and William Aviu are delighted with the KaiBot, donated by the Aotearoa New Zealand education technology company Kai’s Education. MELINA ETCHES/24050906

Apii Avarua Primary students were delighted to participate in the KaiBot in Kainundrum demonstration, a simple yet versatile robot that serves as an ideal introduction to the coding universe, at their school yesterday.

Ronel Schodt and Bruce Jackson, co-founders of EdTech (education technology) company Kais Education in Aotearoa New Zealand, are visiting Rarotonga and have kindly donated a KaiBot in Kainundrum – a screen-free coding robot and magnetic tiles – to both Apii Arorangi and Apii Avarua.

The Kiwi-designed AI-assisted learning robot, KaiBot, has a deck of flashcards to teach the principles of coding in a fun and interactive way.

It is supported by an online portal named Kainundrum which allows coding to be visualised on a PC or tablet, with all manner of exciting integrations and advanced coding challenges.

Jackson said: “It introduces coding concepts to somebody who has never coded.”

Schodt explained that the company develops coding robots for primary school students and intermediate (middle) schools to teach students how to code.

“Doing that early introduction at a really early stage because we need to get kids not to be scared of technology and the same with the teachers as well…” she said.

KaiBots are used in around 150 schools in Aotearoa, and are sold mainly in the US. Over $100,000 worth of their robots have been shipped to American Samoa.

Apii Avarua mathematics teacher Kris Farmer said the students have done coding before at the Centre of Excellence in Information Technology (CEIT) and showed keen interest.

“As a Maths teacher, it helps to bring the Maths alive … when the kids are starting to think about orientation, how many spaces they need to move, etc,” Farmer said.

“The way this system seems to be set up will be very handy and help the kids start to think about how special it looks … the kids are getting a lot of joy out of it.”

Kai’s Education learning programmes are being adopted by educational institutions worldwide.

It is guided by the inspirational leadership of Jackson, the chief executive officer and founder who drives its innovative spirit.

His journey is extraordinary, having overcome personal challenges that make him especially empathetic to the diverse needs of learners.

Jackson’s experiences with ADHD and partial blindness during his own school years excluded him from traditional learning paths. These challenges have fuelled his passion for creating inclusive educational tools.

Understanding firsthand the barriers faced by students who learn differently, Jackson is committed to ensuring that Kai’s Education products are accessible and engaging for all learners, regardless of their challenges.

“KaiBot democratises coding, welcoming students of all abilities, including the blind, with tactile coding options and multilingual support for Spanish, English, and Te Reo Māori.”


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