The KIBO Robotics Kit was developed by the DevTech Research Group at Tufts University. It is commercially available through KinderLab Robotics.

 

The KIBO robotics kit was developed through the Ready for Robotics project, led by Professor Marina Umaschi Bers from the DevTech research group at Tufts University and funded by the National Science Foundation (grant # NSF DRL-1118897). This research project focuses on two components of STEM, the “T” of technology and the "E" of engineering that have been the most neglected in early childhood education.

As part of this project, we created and evaluated a developmentally appropriate robotic system for young children, called KIBO (formerly known as “KIWI” or Kids Invent with Imagination), that can be programmed with our tangible programming language made of wooden blocks. KIBO is now commercially available through KinderLab Robotics. Additionally, we have developed strategies for integrating its use in early childhood classrooms by designing curricular units that integrate programming and engineering with other subject areas, as well as professional development strategies.

All of our robotics and programming tools, curriculum, and professional development materials are based on rigorous quantitative and qualitative research conducted with children, parents, and teachers. KIBO is now used in more than 30 countries worldwide. Please see highlights from a recent research study in Singapore below. The philosohy behind KIBO's design, the pedagogical approach and examples of classroom usescan be found in the book “Coding as Playground: Programming and Computational Thinking in the Early Childhood Classroom” , written by Prof. Marina Umaschi Bers (Rutledge, 2018)

KIBO Research Highlight Video: KIBO in Singapore

 

KIBO Research Highlight Video: Developing Big KIBO


Since 2011, the KIWI prototype (now called KIBO) has gone through several design iterations (and has been tested in numerous public and private schools in the greater Boston area as well as in summer camp and lab settings. This testing with children and teachers has informed teach stage of the re-design of KIWI and the commercially available KIBO robotic kit.

 

The image above displays the design changes made to the KIBO robot over the years beginning in 2011 (light blue, pictured far left) to the newest commercially available model (orange, picture far right). Design changes were made based on ongoing pilot-testing and direct feedback from early childhood educators and children.

 

KIBO is programmed using tangible wooden programming blocks- no screentime required! The child creates a sequence of instructions (a program) using the wooden blocks and KIBO reads the barcodes with an embedded scanner. With the press of a button children watch the robot come alive (see image below)! The KIBO programming language contains 18 unique blocks and 12 unique parameters leading to endless creative possibilities.


 

Developmentally appropriate robotics tools, such as KIBO, are not enough to foster positive learning experiences in the classroom. Developmentally appropriate curriculum and pedagogy, along with confident and competent teachers, are also required for any robotics curriculum to be successful. One of the major impediments faced by early childhood educators is a lack of knowledge and understanding about technology and engineering, and about developmentally appropriate pedagogical approaches to bring those disciplines into the classrooms.

In order to address this need, the DevTech Research Group hosts robotics and programming professional development institutes and workshops throughout the year. If interested in finding out about upcoming workshops, please add your name to our mailing list. For more in-depth teacher preparation please see our Early Childhood Technology Certificate Program.

Please join the Early Childhood Robotics Network to see videos, learn about our curriculum, find resources, and more. To learn more about our research outcomes, check out our Publications Page

I want a KIBO! Where can I get one?

The KIBO robotics kit is available through KinderLab Robotics Inc.