Wonder Workshop's Virtual Summit 2020
Highlights from Vikas Gupta
We opened the first ever Wonder Workshop Virtual Summit today with a look back at Wonder Workshop’s founding, early days, some recent announcements, and news for what we are launching in the coming weeks and months. You can watch the video of the keynote here: https://virtualsummit.makewonder.com/talks/opening-keynote/. With more than 4,500 educators and parents registered for the summit from across the globe, we are looking forward to sharing more resources, tips and tricks and ways to engage our youth in robotics and coding throughout the rest of the event.
We founded Wonder Workshop inspired by our children — what was especially insightful for me was the time I spent with my daughter away from work in 2012. We know that our children will grow up in a world now more than ever surrounded by technology. We want them to use the tech in their hands to create and invent, and not merely consume. This desire is what motivates each of us at Wonder Workshop to come to work every day or now from home these days 🙂
We are excited to see that over the years, our Dash, Dot, and Cue robots have reached more than 25,000 elementary and middle schools across the US, and across more than 4,000 school districts (out of 13,300). In 2019, more than 233,000 Dash robots were active — that’s more than half of the robots sold since we started Wonder Workshop. In addition, more than 1 million free play Blockly programs were written, and nearly 7 million challenges were attempted in Blockly. And that was just in 2019! We’ve come a long way from imagining what Dash would look like 7 years ago.
We host various resources for teachers and parents online at portal.makewonder.com, including Class Connect. Class Connect gives teachers, parents, and coaches a tool where they can track student progress, find extensive lesson plans to challenge students further, and use resources for their own professional development. We wanted to ensure that our educators have the tools that they need to tailor instruction to every student — no matter where they are at.
We’ve been working on finding the means to help schools and districts implement coding and robotics at scale, while keeping the cost of implementation low. We want to give coaches and teachers the ability to let students continue to program Dash from home, where they don’t necessarily have access to a robot. In doing so, we wanted to make sure we preserve the magic and charm of Dash and its personality.
Today we are excited to announce the Dash Simulator, a robot that can be accessed and programmed from within Blockly. Currently still in beta testing, The Dash Simulator, comes with a virtual world that Dash lives in and interacts with the programs that you write in Blockly. These programs can then be run from the same app on a physical robot — or shared from the app like any other Blockly program to take it to another device. The programs are also saved in the cloud, associated with the profiles, and migrated to any other device on the same Class Connect license.
The Dash Simulator is available for no additional fee as a part of the Class Connect license. If you have a Class Connect license, you will get access to the Dash Simulator without taking any additional steps.
Today we are opening up beta access to the Dash Simulator. You can sign up for the beta access at https://makewonder.com/earlyaccess.
In order to access the Dash Simulator, you will need to have a Class Connect license. We are extending the Class Connect free trials to go on until the end of the school year — June 30, 2020. You can sign up for a free trial for Class Connect here: https://www.makewonder.com/class-connect/.
We will be letting more and more people into the Beta access for Dash Simulator over the upcoming weeks. Please know that this is an early access program, and that the software will be a little rough on the edges. We ask for your patience, and we ask you to share your feedback with us so that we can continue to improve this exciting new feature to better meet your needs and expectations.
We will be prioritizing the existing Class Connect licensed users, Wonder League coaches, and the Wonder Squad members for the beta access before admitting others. Please stay tuned as we expand the access.
The Dash Simulator will be available after the beta as a part of Class Connect, including the free trials, starting in May this year.
I am grateful for the support we’ve gotten from teachers and parents around the world, and I am excited to bring Dash in a virtual world with you all. We hope that in these trying times when every parent is thrust in a role of an educator, and all teachers and students have been thrust into the world of distance learning, we can offer a little bit to help continue to develop the 21st century skills for children all over the world.