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ISTE NEWS: Pitsco Education and SmartGurlz™ Launch Smart Buddies™ Coding Solution

Pitsco Education, in collaboration with SmartGurlz™, today 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 US and Canada.

Smart Buddies has been created with a diverse set of relatable characters, or "buddies," on self-balancing, programmable scooters called Siggys™ to enable learners to better envision themselves working in STEM and coding. With a focus on storytelling, the new 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.

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 to keep children engaged for hours.

Smart Buddies Features:

  • ENGAGING: A recent pilot with 250 students showed high levels of engagement with both girls and boys, with teachers reporting that children opted to miss recess to continue coding.
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING: Combines imaginative yet real-life storytelling with coding and math-related subjects.
  • MAXIMIZES LEARNING OUTCOMES: Introduces the basics of computer science by covering sequences, functions, subroutines, and loops.
  • CORE CURRICULUM: Lesson plans are designed to meet ISTE-S and Common Core State Standards.
  • STEM TO OTHER CLASSES: Can cover multiple subjects, such as English, science, and mathematics.
  • SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL LEARNING: Lessons include opportunities for discussion, debate, and reflection on important topics such as diversity, gender differences, and conflict resolution.
  • CODE OF CONDUCT: A code of conduct serves as communication guidelines for teachers and classmates to support behaviors that encourage inclusivity.

Beginning September 2019, Smart Buddies will be available for purchase in customizable four-packs throughout the US and Canada, exclusively through Pitsco Education at Pitsco.com/SmartBuddies. Additional buddies can be individually purchased to best fit the demographic of every classroom, every year. To see Smart Buddies in action prior to release, visit Pitsco Education at ISTE 2019 in booth 2215.