“Roberto” Computational Literacy Stickerbook, by TIDAL Lab


Tangible Tech Collaborative: “Roberto” is a computational literacy project created by Northwestern University’s TIDAL Lab.  Written as children’s literature, this real paper and ink book also has scannable TopCode stickers that children can use to program their own sequences of dance-moves for the book’s character, Roberto. These tangible/digital connections are empowering within early learning experiences!

To discover more about the goals and capabilities of the “Roberto” project, and other possible uses for scannable TopCodes, check out Northwestern University’s TIDAL Lab (focussing on Tangible Interaction Design And Learning).

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Tangi Tech!

This is the Tangible Tech Collaborative (Tangi Tech).

Within the fields of children’s technology and digital learning, we encourage developmentally appropriate experiences that blend hands-on investigations and digital interface design.

Enjoy these resources, articles and creative “mashups” designed to blend coding apps with hands-on activities.

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Sphero Robot & App by Orbotix Inc.


Tangible Tech Collaborative: The Sphero line of rolling robots can be programmed from an iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch. This line also includes ramps and nubby covers for outdoor robotics challenges!

See app details at Orbotix Inc. iTunes.  Discover more about the Sphero line of tangible tech products at their fun Sphero website.  Teachers may also want to try Sphero Education for curated Twitter items from schools.

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Cubelets Six Kit, by Modular Robotics



Tangible Tech Collaborative: Cubelets snap-together computerized cubes (for ages 4+) can be arranged in different ways to make different moving robots. These 6 Cubelets are categoized in this way: ACTION Cubelets (1 Drive, 1 Flashlight), SENSE Cubelets (1 Brightness, 1 Distance) and THINK Cubelets (1 Battery, 1 Passive).  How fun for early robotics!

Learn more on their fun Cubelets’ website. Also visit their Education page with sample lesson plans and student challenges.

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Bit Planner, experimental tangible calendar


Bit Planner

Tangible Tech Collaborative: The Bit Planner calendar project is by Adrian Westaway, Clara Gaggero and Duncan Fitzimons, who designed it to make “the most of the tangibility of physical objects, and the ubiquity of digital platforms.” Although still an experiment (and not an endorsed Lego product) their studio version uses color-coded Lego bricks for each team member, and smartphone software for digital time-keeping.

Explore their Bit Planner Vimeo and visit their website bit-planner.com.

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Cubetto Playset, by Primo

Cubetto, by primo.io

Tangible Tech Collaborative: With Cubetto Playset (by Primo) young children pop colorful arrow blocks into a wooden sequencing box to instruct the wooden “Cubetto” robot. Especially appreciated are the green blocks that serve as a function keys for subroutines. Nice! Options can include wooden obstacles and build- a-robot opportunities.

You can learn more at www.primo.io.

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Bringing Technology to the Sandbox, Fred Rogers Center

Bringing Tech to the sandbox

Tangible Tech Collaborative: Sarah Jackson writes this helpful Fred Rogers Center blog post in a piece entitled, “Bringing Technology to the Sandbox.” In it she quotes from Frances Judd of the Tangible Tech Collaborative: “If we can find technology that is relevant to the sand table, to the block area, to the water table, then we have reached an important learning moment, and the reality is that this technology is available now.”

Please read Sarah Jackson’s post from Fred Rogers Center about the importance of finding and creating developmentally appropriate technology and media for children.

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Snap Rover®, by Elenco

Snap Rover® by snap circuitsjpg

Tangible Tech Collaborative: With a Snap Rover® kit by Elenco, students (3rd-5th grade) can build their own educational radio controlled vehicles. This innovative product is a valuable component for STEM education, and joins easily with other Snap Circuits® pieces. As with all of the colorful Snap Circuits® projects, there is no soldering!

Visit their inviting website to learn more about Snap Rover® and other Snap Circuits® kits from Elenco.

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TERN TopCode Projects, TIDAL Lab


Tangible Tech Collaborative: We love exploring the interesting hands-on learning projects coming from Northwestern University’s TIDAL Lab. TIDAL stands for Tangible Interaction Design And Learning. Their innovative projects include programming puzzle sets, wooden coding blocks, museum exhibits, and “Roberto” the computational literacy sticker-book to program dance moves with scannable movable TopCodes.

Learn more about the inspiring tangible interface designs from Northwestern University’s TIDAL Lab.

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Kano Computer & Coding Kit, by Kano

kano kit-basic-components@2x


Tangible Tech Collaborative: Kano is a pop-together working Raspberry Pi computer. The Kano kit has accessible hardware, Learn-To-Code games, and “Raspbian” software designed for beginning programmers and makers. Who wouldn’t want to put together their own functioning computer and discover computer science through tinkering and making?

Discover more interesting features of the Kano kit at Kano.

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Robot Turtles, by ThinkFun & Robot Turtles, LLC.

Tangible Tech Collaborative: When playing with the Robot Turtles Board Game (by Think Fun) children create programming logic with playing cards and tangible game pieces.  The companion eBook (by Robot Turtles LLC) offers interactive exchanges, expanding the story narrative for these fun Robot Turtle characters inspired by the Logo programming language.

Learn more about the fun Robot Turtles board-game and eBook at Robot Turtles.robot turtle game layout


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Morphi, by The Inventery, Inc.

Morphi iPad app twitter

Tangible Tech Collaborative: Morphi iPad app (by The Inventery, Inc.) lets players design items for 3D modeling and printing. The app is free, with additional features available for purpose. Select preset modeling components or draw with individualized free-form creativity! Designs are stored in a gallery for direct export.

Learn more about this 3D modeling and printing app at Morphi.


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WeDo Engineering, by Lego®

Lego® WeDo, by Lego® (at BDS school)

Tangible Tech Collaborative: WeDo Engineering, WeDo Engineering (by Lego®) offers sets of lego-bricks and software to create moveable engineering sets.  These two kindergarten students from Chicago’s innovative Bennett Day School are using a WeDo Kit that combines coding experiences with Scratch, and hands-on engineering with Legos.

Learn more about WeDo Engineering at Lego® Engineering. Discover more about classroom uses of tangible tech and innovative approaches to education at Bennett Day School.

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