K’NEX’s new TechnoK’NEX Computer Control System was on display at this week’s National Education Computing Conference (NECC) in Chicago. The Mac compatible system lets teachers and students in grades 1-9 explore computer programming, robotics, design and engineering.
According to K’NEX Education spokesperson, Shelia Barsky, the system lets computer programmers direct a robot to pick up and carry objects on a simulated space station, a crane to clear a construction site, and a drawbridge to open and close, according to traffic patterns.
“TechnoK’NEX is the next generation of curriculum-supported computer control tools for the progressive educator, bringing the concept of computer programming and control to an entirely new level in the classroom,” Barsky said. “We’ve developed extensive curriculum support for our sets, simplifying the experience, and clearing up the confusion surrounding other sets on the market.”
With everything in one box, teachers in grades 1-9 can experiment with up to robots that have up to four different articulated movements. Whatever logical behaviors the students program into the computer, the robotic models they build can perform with precision and ease, Barsky said.
The 3D, open design of the robotic models gives students a clear view of the models’ internal workings, she added. And the sets include an interdisciplinary curriculum that links the robotic creations to technology, math, science, language arts and other subject areas through activities based on real world situations. Every set includes educator guides, building instructions, student activity cards, reference cards, software manual and resource guide.
The TechnoK’NEX product line includes: TechnoK’NEX Computer Control Lab, Grades 1-4, which allows for two real-world models to be built simultaneously, with four types of models to choose from; TechnoK’NEX Computer Control Multi-Lab, Grades 1-4, which allows four models to be built at one time and controlled by four interfaces so that four groups of students can work simultaneously; TechnoK’NEX Computer Control Lab, Grades 5-9+, which enables two models to be built simultaneously in eight configurations; TechnoK’NEX Computer Control Multi-Lab, Grades 1-4, which enables four groups of students to work with the models and four interfaces, with the ability to allow groups to collaborate by having interfaces command each other.
TechnoK’NEX sets are available through a variety of educational catalogers and retailers. Prices may vary among them.