SOURCE: Wonder Workshop

Wonder Workshop

March 28, 2017 12:15 ET

Global Robotics Competition Expands Access and Engagement in Computer Science

Number of teams competing in Wonder League Robotics Competition grows 365% as teams from every region of US, nearly as many girls as boys, put their imaginations and problem solving skills to work

SAN MATEO, CA--(Marketwired - Mar 28, 2017) -  Wonder Workshop, creators of Dash & Dot robots that teach students creative problem solving, coding, and robotics, today announced the winners of the 2016-2017 Wonder League Robotics Competition. This year, over 20,000 students learned computer science by competing in collaborative teams to design solutions to real-world science and technology challenges.

While just 40% of U.S. principals report offering at least once computer science course at their school, interest in programming and coding is spreading quickly -- and defying gender and geographic barriers often associated with the subject. More than 5,300 teams from 52 countries participated in the competition, up 365% from the year prior. Teams in the US hailed from every region of the country, with significant participation from California, Georgia, Kentucky, New Jersey, New York, and Texas. While women make up less than one-quarter of the computer science workforce, half of the finalists in the Wonder League's 9-12 age bracket were girls, as well as 35% of participants in the 6-8 bracket. 

The Pink Eagles -- an all-girls team from Hartland, Michigan -- won the grand prize for the 9-12 age group and team X-PLODE from Bangalore, India won the grand prize for the 6-8 age group.

The Wonder League is a worldwide network of elementary coding and robotics clubs using Wonder Workshop's all-inclusive program to inspire an early love of coding, computer science, tangible learning and STEM education. Clubs form through schools, communities, homes, and friendship. Teams of students between the ages of 6 and 12 with access to one set of Dash & Dot robots -- which students program using code -- participate in the Robotics Competition, where they develop problem solving, growth mindset and creativity skills through learning to code.

"Our daughter and her friends first joined Wonder League thinking it would be a fun and engaging way to learn more about robotics. But what they discovered was so much more than that," said Frank Tappen, coach of the 2016-2017 winning Pink Eagles team from Hartland, Michigan. "While solving this year's missions, the girls learned invaluable, lifelong skills about time-management, group collaboration, and contributing to their community. By working closely as a team, they developed some pretty creative solutions! What started out as a robotics project for a small group of girls grew into a remarkable story of learning and perseverance that excited our entire community."

The 2016-2017 Wonder League Robotics Competition began in October 2016, with a finalist round being held in January 2017. This year, teams competed to rescue animal habitats on Bear Byte Island by completing coding lessons and challenges.

"We are inspired by the incredible response to this year's Wonder League competition. To see the number of teams participating grow and diversify from over 1,150 last year to more than 5,300 this year points to what we all know to be true: all kids love putting their boundless imaginations and intuitive problem solving skills to work in concrete environments," said Vikas Gupta, CEO and co-founder of Wonder Workshop. "As parents and teachers, by providing all kids with access to robotics and coding today, we are giving rise to a far more diverse future generation of creators and problem solvers."

The grand prize winning teams each receive a $5,000 grant for STEM related supplies, a Dash robot for every member of the team, and special edition Wonder League finalists shirts. The top five teams will receive a Dash robot for every member of the team, and the top 30 teams will all receive special edition Wonder League finalist shirts.

The complete list of winners and finalists can be found at clubs.makewonder.com.

About Dash & Dot
Dash & Dot are award-winning, hands-on learning tools that teach K-5 students creative problem solving, coding and robotics. Designed for teachers to use alongside classroom-tested, state standards-aligned curriculum built by fellow educators, Dash & Dot encourage interest in STEM fields at formative ages and across gender lines. Both robots arrive ready-to-use, yet they are highly customizable for creative learning applications. Dash & Dot interact through Wonder Workshop's five mobile applications, allowing children to extend learning into the physical classroom and bring STEM concepts to life. Applications for Dash & Dot are intuitive to allow students to translate ideas into visual, picture-based coding. Wonder Workshop apps that come along with the robots are compatible with more than 25 iOS, Kindle, and Android devices including the iPad 3, iPad mini, iPad Air 1 & 2 and a variety of Nexus and Samsung Galaxy devices.

About Wonder Workshop
Wonder Workshop launched Dash & Dot in December 2014 and within its first month, delivered more than $3.5M in robots to 37 countries including the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, European countries, India, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong. Today, Dash & Dot are in more than 1000 elementary classrooms. Based in San Mateo, CA, Wonder Workshop was founded in 2012 by Vikas Gupta, Saurabh Gupta and Mikal Greaves, inventors, designers, programmers and parents with the mission to make coding a new creative tool that is accessible for children from age five and beyond. The company has currently raised $15.9 million in funding from Madrona Venture Group, CRV, WI Harper, Google Ventures, Bright Success Capital, Maven Ventures, Vikas Gupta, Reza Hussein and Jeff Schox. For more information, visit http://www.makewonder.com.

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