Student coders all over the United States will have the opportunity to show off their skills and win big prizes thanks to the new Sony KOOV challenge. This is the first time the competition has been offered in the US, and despite the current coronavirus quarantine, Sony has found a way to make the event happen — even if you’re not at a school using the Sony KOOV.
“We’re doing this KOOV challenge to engage and inspire the next generation of young innovators,” Michiko Araki, Vice President of New Business and Corporate Marketing group at Sony Electronics tells Parentology. “Our objective is to introduce coding, robotics, and design to classrooms so that we can help nurture well-rounded, creative problem solvers and foster 21st-century skills. Not only hard skills but also soft skills like creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication.”
How Can KOOV Do That?
The Sony KOOV kit contains plastic building blocks in different shapes, sizes, and colors, along with sensors, motors, LEDs, and controllers. Kids build and bring their robots to life via a USB or Bluetooth-synced app containing “Robot Recipes” that show them how to create pre-coded actions. Through these builds, young people can easily progress from basic components to programming logic, structure, and processes — eventually inventing their own program codes — and all while having fun.
“For my students, they love that idea of the block building. It was something they felt really comfortable with,” says Jessie Conn, a fifth-grade teacher and the tech club advisor at Ocean Knoll Elementary in Encinitas, California. She tells Parentology that her students’ ability to build something and then code it motivates them to learn in an organic, fun way, teaching them skills they’ll use in real life.
“Students learn best from their peers,” she explains. So, from artistic kids to computer whizzes, students with different skill sets must work together to get the KOOV robots working. “Then they start learning from one another. All of a sudden you see your students that did not feel really strong with coding start to take that piece on and use what they learned from their peers in prior iterations. So you’re not only celebrating what they’re good at, but then they’re also learning something new.”
US KOOV Challenge 2020
Sony hosted the KOOV Challenge for the last three years with students from Japan and China, but this is the first year it’s been opened to US students. “We have chosen to use autonomous vehicle transportation as the theme,” Araki says, explaining that Sony’s Vision-S Prototype Vehicle, which was unveiled at CES 2020, will be an inspiration. “That’s the pinnacle of Sony’s innovation and we wanted to tie the KOOV challenge to that big innovation.”
The in-person competition in San Diego was canceled due to the quarantine, but the online version has been extended and is open to more people than before.
1. Adjustment to Entry Rules:
- Either parental or teacher consent is needed (not just teachers)
- Participants do not need to be in groups of 3. They can be solo, which allows for distance learning.
- Both the Trial Kit and Educator Kit can be used for the online event.
2. Important Dates
- March 30th – Contest details shared around the challenge!
- March 30th to May 29th- KOOV Challenge USA Online Contest opens for submissions
- May 29th – KOOV Challenge USA Online Contest closes
- June 8th – KOOV Challenge Online Winners Announced
All entrants must complete the entry form here: http://bit.ly/3asA1do
Originally, US winners were to be flown to the final challenge in Tokyo later this year. That possibility is still on the table depending on the status of the coronavirus pandemic.
For more information about the kits, or how you can get one for your school, see the links below. Schools can also contact Sony KOOV for possible support.