Eduporium Experiment | SAM Labs Inventor Kit
A few weeks ago, we reviewed the SAM Labs Curious Cars Kit for the Eduporium Experiment and now this week's edition has SAM Labs' Inventor Kit in store for us! SAM Labs is a British company who’s committed to bringing hands-on STEAM to early education and have created three innovative kits that do just that. One of the most important 21st century skills today’s students can have is invention and that’s the focus of this week’s post.
The Inventor Kit features a number of smart blocks (similar to littleBits), which all connect to the SAM Space app. There are no wires to worry about and no additional complications as the Inventor Kit provides only what children need in an effort to eliminate wasted time. The creators of SAM Labs will be the first to tell you that each block has its own specific function and teachers a specific skill, which I wouldn’t have necessarily known just by looking at them, and, depending on the block, they can move, light up, or play a sound.
Like many of today’s STEAM technologies, the functions of the SAM Labs blocks can be programmed using the SAM Space app. To begin, I thought I’d just test the interactivity of the product and see how easy it is to get started since this tool is designed for students as young as 7 years old. To my delight, it was very simple to set up and connect to Bluetooth and I discovered that the functions of the blocks can be programmed without much difficulty!
The more I tinkered with the different functions, the more the Inventor Kit reminded me of littleBits. And, that’s not a bad thing at all! I tried completing the Morse code project, which is another similarity to littleBits, and i found it to be pretty intuitive. The fact that kids have to program the sounds rather than just selecting an option gives the Inventor Kit an extra element of interactivity and another beneficial challenge for students to complete. It was enough of a challenge to make the Inventor Kit valuable in the classroom, but easy enough that it should not scare kids away.
Since the SAM blocks are all rechargeable, students don’t have to worry about limiting their learning and getting stuck if one of the batteries dies. Perhaps the only drawback to the Inventor Kit at the moment is that it is not currently Android compatible. That didn't affect me since I’m an Apple guy, but it’s important for teachers to know if they are thinking about adding it to their classrooms. Overall, the Inventor Kit is an intriguing EdTech tool with a very high upside for students. It’s effective at engaging kids right away and facilitating a hands-on coding experience that they can take with them as they continue to develop these crucial skills.
To get a SAM Labs Inventor Kit of your own, visit the Eduporium store. And, as always, look out next Wednesday for the newest edition of the Eduporium Experiment. In the meantime, follow us on Twitter and Instagram and like us on Facebook for the latest and greatest from the world of EdTech.
Image: © SAM Labs