08 May Eduscape Launches Photon in U.S. to Drive Computer Science in K-12 Classrooms
Montvale, NJ – May 7, 2019 – Eduscape has acquired the rights to bring the award-winning Photon coding robot to the United States, Canada and China. Photon is an interactive educational robot that introduces students to coding as early as pre-readers to middle school and beyond. It was designed in partnership with university researchers and a team of over 3,000 students to ensure developmentally appropriate features and applications.
“This is a very important step, not only for our organization, but for all of education. Photon has proven throughout Europe, Australia and South-East Asia that schools can implement STEM much faster and achieve better results with students. We are proud that together with Eduscape we are bringing Photon to North America and China to enable children in these countries to discover and understand technology in meaningful ways.” – stated Mike Grzes, Co-Founder and Board Member of Photon.
“Some people have asked me why invest in bringing another coding robot into the education market. Well, having delivered workshops on a myriad of coding robots over the past couple of years, it became evident that schools deserve a “one-source” coding solution instead of investing in several robots for different grade levels.” said Alex Urrea, Eduscape’s Managing Partner. “Photon brings a unique value proposition to classroom teachers; one robot to learn for K to 8 and beyond, which supports coding applications from block and visual coding all the way to Java, Python and Microsoft MakeCode; and, instead of having to buy accessories, students can design, build and 3-D print their own to bring the essence of coding and STEM education together in purposeful ways.”
Photon’s five visual apps allow even “non-readers” to begin to learn coding and develop computational thinking skills as early as age five. Learners can then use Scratch, Swift Playgrounds and more advanced apps. Photon runs on all devices including tablets, iPads and Chromebooks. “My team also loves Photon because it genuinely runs on Chromebooks, along with Apple and Windows devices. Too often products are marketed as cross platform, but in reality, they require a lot of teacher compromise in terms of features to be a realistic option.” added Urrea.
Eduscape has taken a methodical approach to bringing Photon into U.S. schools. “We are not venture-driven, nor concerned about quarterly sales quotas to please investors. Our goal is simply to make coding literacy genuinely accessible and teachable by the everyday classroom teacher; and, to deliver the highest value proposition for schools, the rest will take care of itself.” added Urrea.
Photon has been busy since last November in schools from California to Massachusetts where the team at the Kaput Center for Research and Innovation in STEM Education at UMASS Dartmouth have been piloting it in regional schools. “Photon is robust because it lets students engage at their own level and in their own way, but also ensuring there are opportunities for problem solving in every interaction. Whether it’s a preschooler acting out the program as he’s programming or a middle school student wanting to make Photon do a dance complete with color changes and loops in the programming, students jump into thinking with Photon within 30 seconds of being introduced to it and they can all learn something in a short time by interacting with it.” stated Dr. Chandra Orrill, the Kaput Center’s Director.
Photon’s engaging storyline is unique unto itself; the story begins that when traveling in space, Photon collided with an asteroid and as a result of a hard landing on earth lost all its abilities. Children are now the only ones who can help him learn everything again. This is part of what motivates students to begin learning to code and restore Photon’s sounds, colors and motion.
“We used to think that we needed a different robotics coding solution for every grade level or range. Photon provides the kind of flexibility that allows us to integrate coding and robotics into any grade and any subject. Even teachers who are apprehensive to use technology have found Photon to be just as friendly to use as its looks suggest. Photon has allowed us to be creative in designing assessments that not only meet the standards of the subject, but integrate the STEM principles that we sometimes struggle to integrate across the curriculum.” stated Dr. Christopher Caton, Director of Curriculum and Instruction at Moon Area School District in Pennsylvania.
Photon offers over 200 lesson plans, an educational mat, flash cards and do-it-yourself stickers so that students can personalize their robot. Some of its more unique features include the ability to create profiles for up to three students per robot, connect up to eight (8) robots at the same time, and the ability to connect to interactive displays, projectors and whiteboards for whole class instruction
“We are just beginning to introduce Photon to our students and teachers; and, they are already in love with it. It is simple and intuitive to use for students of all ages. Photon is quickly becoming our new “go-to” robot for our students. Great equipment, interface, and software. I highly recommend it!”
Dr. Tammy Seneca, Supervisor of Information System and Educational Technology at West Baton Rouge Parish Schools and President of LACUE.
“From the very beginning of our cooperation with Eduscape, we felt that we can count on their knowledge and experience. They surprised us at how strong and substantive the relationships they have with schools and teachers are, which tells us they deeply understand their needs. In Photon, we value the partnership the most. Thanks to mutual trust, we can focus on building strong foundations for the future of education.” – Marcin Joka, co-founder of Photon
Eduscape has developed Photon Academy, a comprehensive professional development program to support the integration of Photon across the curriculum and grade levels. The program offers both online pre-learning and hands-on workshops that extend into computer science for teachers.
Headquartered in Montvale, New Jersey, Eduscape is the leading professional learning organization in the country. Its team of experienced educators has developed and delivered professional development to over 600,000 educators and school leaders. The organization’s expertise ranges from interactive technologies, classroom productivity applications to STEM Education. Eduscape is a Google for Education Premier Partner with an Education Specialization, a leading Microsoft Global Training Partner and the only privately-held certified provider of the ISTE Educator Certification. It has been selected by over 20 award-winning STEM product companies to develop their training academies.