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Help Your Child Grow Through STEM!

Listen up parents and educators; I have some helpful information if your children are seeking new ways to create things that simple Legos cannot. Emilia Keen, a teacher at the local junior high school across from the park, informed me that there is a rental service called LurnBot. She said that it would be useful in encouraging an interest in programming. As the silent invading forces of AI slowly take over the workplace, our youngsters must learn how to control and possibly overthrow any AI, in case of an emergency. Or you know, they could build a program and sharpen their critical thinking skills. Either motivation works. 

Anyway, LurnBot has affordable prices, and class packages are available for students in elementary, middle, and high school. No matter what age, students have the choice of picking a product that they can build or code. Looking over the website’s possible rentals, I found the Makeblock DIY Starter Robot to be interesting. If I were a younger student again, I would be ecstatic putting it together and quietly give a mischievous laugh in the corner. Minor evil plotting aside, if your student or child gets attached to one of the robotic or coding products, they can be bought from LurnBot. Basically you pay the difference of the rental fee and retail price but check the store for exact details. This is advantageous as it gives one the opportunity to try before you buy.

Now, readers, I have a curious mind, so I decided to ask Mr. Josh Kim, the owner and founder of Lurnbot, more questions about his company. The responses were helpful and provided a bit of comfort against the previously stated AI takeover.

Interview with Mr. Josh Kim

What inspired you to create this rental service? 

I have two daughters. I bought a lot of Legos and toys for the elder one. Choosing one was not difficult since my daughter always knew what she wanted. But many of those toys was a waste of money. And most of them were thrown to the closet after a week or two. After becoming a teen, there are only two, an American girl and a LEGO boat, are left in her closet. 

Now the younger one is old enough to play with these toys. I looked into robot kits because I wanted more productive toys for her. This time, it was too hard to pick the right one since there are too many. Also, they could be quite expensive and cost hundreds of dollars. That could be a bit much, especially if you don’t know whether she would like to keep it even after two or three weeks. This made me think about the LurnBot.com, which categorizes these kits by level or skill sets and lets people rent kits only when needed. They can try it for three weeks, and if kids really want to keep, they have an option to buy the kit. You can rent kits at an affordable price, and then extend the period or even buy them if you want to have them. Kids will get more chances to experience different kits at an affordable price to buy one.

Should people, especially the younger generations, be worried about AI taking over the workforce? 

Yes and no. Robots are everywhere as a physical one or software. You can easily find the physical robots in the factory, airport, etc., and also software bots such as RPA(Robotic Process Automation) bots in banking site or in the workplace. Many jobs have been lost by those robots, and it is really happening, but some jobs could not be replaced. Kids should focus on those things. Understanding programming can be a starting point. Instead of competing with robots, leveraging them is required.

 Is programming a crucial skill that everyone should have basic knowledge in considering the times we live in?

For kids, yes, it is necessary. For adults, I am not sure. Adults may not need to understand coding. Programming is a kind of language like music. People using different languages can understand each other’s thought through their coding. Now kids who will live in a wave of devices and IT should know the principles of programming as the foundation on which the world works even if they won’t be a programmer. Programming also teaches logical thinking and helps to think step by step. 

 Could programming be helpful to people who do not want to pursue a scientific or technological job or career? 

Same as the answer above. To use a smartphone or watch TV, you don’t need to know what the OLED is or how to control the screen pixels. Since the interface is getting better and better, understanding what is beneath them is not mandatory. Of course, it’s helpful to know how it works, but it’s not essential. Nonetheless, if you can understand basic programming concept, you can have a diversified view on those systems.

Do you market this service towards adults like teachers and parents?

Most of LurnBot’s customers come to the site by having the same needs as mine. Kids want to have a robot kit, but parents don’t want to spend the unnecessary initial investment on products which they have no idea “what it is”. 

The users of the kits are, of course, kids, but the actual marketing target of the LurnBot is parents and teachers in their 30s to 50s. Initially, I targeted parents. For now, most customers are homeschool, alternative schooling, or public schools teachers who want to set up a maker space in the library or STEM program.

How does LurnBot get people’s attention against similar rental or subscription services?

Transparent pricing is the most appealing point. Rental prices were determined in consideration of factors like the weight of the product and the difficulty of managing. In the case of shipping charges, the two-way shipping fee is already included in the rental price after we carefully investigated. So, there is no hidden cost, and the amount shown on the product page is what the customer will pay. It prevents customers from experiencing to leave the checkout page, feeling that he/she is cheated with the expensive two-way shipping cost. 

Another appealing point is the quick customer service. We provide fast service to our customers through various channels. If there is any problem with the kit, such as missing parts, the replacement will be shipped within 24 hours. We got lots of appreciation and applause from customers about our fantastic “Customer First” service.

Does LurnBot have competitors?

Various companies are actively doing rental business for LEGO and children’s toys. But there aren’t many sites to rent programmable kits. A company called Stemtrunk, which was funded through Indiegogo, is running a subscription model. They also provide an after-class program.

So, there you have it. We may not need to worry about humans experiencing joblessness so quickly. Gaining the knowledge and experience at an early age will make it easier to navigate the ever-progressing world they will come to know. Lurnbot rental service is perfect for building those programming foundations early and help them grow into technologically savvy adults. It shouldn’t be expensive for children to have the chance to gain an interest in coding or robotics. For those who do feel a connection to these skills at a young age, they should get the necessary tools and experiences that will lead them to success. The worse that could happen is that your child becomes a supervillain with robot minions, but that rarely ever happens. With all this in mind, parents browse the LurnBot store today!

LurnBot Kits

LurnBot Kits

Cubelets TWELVE Robot Blocks
Robot Blocks
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Robot Kit
See It
Piper Computer
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Three Marketing Hacks For Indie Game Developers

In 2018 Dig-iT! Games decided to let our designers, artists, and developers loose and create a puzzle adventure game (Roterra) for casual mobile players.  We had a new mechanic and concept for art and a 16th-century Italian poem for reference, what we didn’t have was a lot of experience marketing to mobile users. Figuring out how to market to the casual mobile game player has been a journey in trial and error and with some highs and lows. Read More


Take the Lead and Be George Washington

Take the Lead and Be George Washington

President George Washington has been immortalized in the minds of the American people.  Most remember him for his leadership and deeds during the American Revolution, while others think of his presidency.  He had been put in countless situations that could have changed the course of our history in drastic ways. He dealt with events such as the Newbury Conspiracy and Genet Affair with experience, courage, and patience. For a man held in such high regard in our history, it seems nearly impossible to fill his shoes. That is until now! George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate has created a live digital theater game that allows players to be George Washington.

In Be Washington, players must keep their wits about them in this fun simulator and take charge in four significant events during George Washington’s time in command of the Continental Army and The Presidential Office. During these scenarios, players will have various advisors Washington would have had to aid in making decisions. While they listen, new information related to the situation will appear. The latest news can either solidify their choice or change their mind on what to do.  For example, one of the scenarios is the Battle of Second Trenton. Once the players are given all the necessary information about the event, they are met with multiple advisors. Each of them has differing opinions on how to handle the situation, so it is vital that the players listen and consider whether or not they agree.  While the advisors talk, a timer counts down until it is time to make a choice. The timer pauses when more information comes in about the battle.

Once all the necessary information is given, the players have ten seconds to decide. After a decision is made, it is revealed what George Washington did in that particular situation. The percentages of who chose what answers are compared to each other on-screen. Doing this provides a unique view of people’s choices when faced with those high-pressure situations. From an educational standpoint, Be Washington provides insight into what it takes to be a leader.  It also embodies the importance of learning history.  An examination of history is crucial in not only preventing it from repeating but also improving the world into something more.

Play George Washington At Home

This game can be played in singular player mode at home, but also allows for groups to play as well, which is perfect for a classroom setting.  Be Washington would be an excellent fit for teachers and students who have an interest in history while also making it fun. To play as a group, someone would either host the game or join a game with a code to enter. It is compatible with Apple and Android devices and can be downloaded at their perspective stores.  It can also be downloaded and played on desktops that support Google Chrome and HTML5 software.

The game has won several awards including the prestigious Outstanding Achievement -Limited Budget from the Themed Entertainment Association

More George Washington and US History

George Washington’s Estate 

History.com-George Washington 

Whitehouse.gov – US Presidents 

Mount Vernon Lesson Plans

Play Dig-iT! Games Loot Pursuit-Early America set in Jamestown.


Give Your Kids a Culture Boost Before Your Summer Vacation

Summer is upon us and that means that your vacation planning is likely well underway! With air travel being more popular than ever, European destinations are potential contenders for many families. Historic and fascinating locations such as Rome and Greece are destinations that the entire family can enjoy.
Before jetting off to one of the most historically important places in the world, why not let your kids have a fun culture lesson about your upcoming destination? Not only will they appreciate the destination more, but this can lead to life long memories of seeing something they previously learned about in person!
It’s no secret that kids love playing games. Here at Dig-iT! Games®, we have games that are so fun and interesting that your kids may not even realize that they are also learning some really cool historic facts!

Travel To Ancient Lands

Our Excavate! game series allows your children to play as an archaeologist excavating particular sites in search of artifacts. It includes six individual games representing a historic culture in history: Rome, Greece, Egypt, Mesopotamia, MesoAmerica, and Byzantine Empire. After choosing their excavation location in a game, players will go through a short tutorial to teach them al about the tools that are used by archaeologists and in which situations they should be used.

After taking care to find and dig up each exciting artifact, players will examine each artifact. The player will read a question related to the artifact, and then will be given a choice of answers where they will choose the one that seems the most logical.
Wrong answer? No problem! This game is educational, so the player chooses until they get the right answer. After selecting the correct answer, more interesting information is given about the artifact that explains in more detail why it was so important.

After seeing all of these cool artifacts and learning about them, like how Roman gladiators wore armor that was segmented to allow flexibility during hand-to-hand combat, your trip will be more enjoyable for everyone! Not only will you get to visit all of those historic sites that you want to see, but now, the whole family will be knowledgeable and interested to see these sites in person!
After the end of each Stratum level, the player will fill out a form all about what they learned. (That’s why it is important for them to take notes!) The form contains context clues, but still requires to player to have paid attention during the excavation process.

As we previously mentioned, not only are the Excavate! games educational, but they are also a lot of fun. Don’t be surprised if soon, you find yourself playing as well!

Games For Your Destination:

Match your destination to our Excavate games!
Greece (Athens, Sparta, Olympia, and Delphi)

 

Mesopotamia (Sumer, Assyria, and Babylon)

 

MesoAmerica (Aztec, Maya, and Inca)

Roterra Puzzle Game Hits App Store

January 31, 2019

Launch Day Arrives

Roterra Now Available on the App Store

About Me

It has been over two weeks now since we launched our newest puzzle adventure game Roterra – Flip the Fairytale to the App Store.  This has been quite an adventure for a small indie studio but we could not be more excited about the positive response from puzzle game players. For those of you that have purchased our game, thank you so much for your support.

Apple Featured Game

Once you launch you wait and wonder and then an early moment of truth arrives from Apple itself.  

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Excavate Series Expands Greece, Rome and Playing Cards

Today, Dig-iT! Games formally announces the expansion and updated improvements to the Excavate social studies games series with six civilizations on world history. Existing civilizations Egypt, Mesopotamia and MesoAmerica have been updated with additional content and C3-aligned gameplay for an enriched overall learning experience. New civilizations include Rome, Greece and Byzantine (coming soon). Available on multiple platforms for desktops, tablets and phones, these games are designed by former middle school teacher and DIG-IT! Games CEO, Suzi Wilczynski, to take kids on archaeological adventures through time and around the world, that are both entertaining and educational.

New Playing Cards

The series has also been expanded to include Excavate! playing cards for classroom and family fun. Each card deck includes People, Places and Artifacts cards that complement the video game or can be played separately. This is a perfect way to get the conversation going without screen time. An excellent gift option for your child, grandchild or a favorite teacher to introduce the ancient cultures. Game decks are available for the Rome and Egypt civilizations. Standard game play is for 3 to 5 players ages 9 and above.

Six World History Civilizations

“We are pleased to be adding three new world history civilizations to this popular series and updating the content to align to C3 standards to make a more effective teaching tool” says Wilczynski. “Excavate™ provides a high-quality resource for educators across their full World History Curriculum and the new card decks add an additional option for cultural game play, creating a complete multi-media game experience for the middle-school classroom.

Read the complete press release here


Fun Educational Summer Activities!

Now that summer is in full swing check out these great activities to do with your family or send the information along to your students. Educational summer activities are a great way to help students learn while they are having fun as well as giving teachers beneficial professional development.

The Smithsonian is hosting a variety of programs every day this summer! The Mystery of the Megatherium Club: Mustaches and Mayhem is going on every day at the Smithsonian Castle, sometimes twice a day! This scavenger hunt will excite the whole family! Also, on select days there are films after 5 p.m. at the Anacostia Community Museum! Check out their summer activities and events to see which museum is hosting something that will entertain and enrich your child’s summer. If the events are not your thing and you love just to check out their exhibits, hurry some of these programs leave this fall!

Looking for some professional development to do from the comfort of your home? Twitter is your place to be this summer. With a variety of edchats being conducted on various days and new porch PD, it is safe to say that an educator could enjoy gaining new information, tools, techniques, and resources from other educators around the world from the comfort of their home! There are many chats to participate in, and I guarantee the schedule will keep you busy! Some notable chats to participate in are #edchat, #satchatWC (West Coast Leadership Chat), #satchatOC (Oceania Coast Leadership Chat), #mschat (Middle School Chat),  #sschat (Social Studies Chat),#ntchat (Ed Tech Chat), #engchat (English Chat), #mathchat (Math Chat) and #games4ed (GBL Chat).

Summer is also a great time to learn at summer camps, workshops, and conferences and most summer activities on Eventbrite are free!

Going on right now is the Modern Robotics LocoSummer Camp Series by LocoRobo Innovations Inc. This camp is from Mon. July 10th – Fri, July 14th.

The Urban Institute is inviting educators to a forum on Wed. July 12, 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. on The Impact of Early Childhood Education on Health and Well-Being: The Latest Research on Policies for Action.

Also on July 12th is the Microsoft Inspire IAMCP Women in Technology Charity Luncheon from 11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

Excited about Legos? Send your kids to a 1-Day Lego Summer Camp on Sat. July 15th from 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m hosted by e2 Young Engineers.

Make the trip to Norfolk, VA on July 21st from 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. for the Inspiring Teacher Conference from YAV and Old Dominion University College.

Women in Tech Demo Day Presented by Capital One is a two-day event from Fri. July 21 – Sat. July 22. This program is by the Women Who Code and AngelHack.

Lastly, on Sat. Aug. 12 send your daughters to the Product Designer (World Fair Event) hosted by the DAR from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Have fun this summer and don’t forget that there are a lot of free, fun, and educational events going on all over the states. Check out museum sites, Eventbrite, and Twitter for great ideas!


The Education Team Returns from ISTE

Dig-It Games had a blast last week at ISTE. The Conference was ideal for new technological experiences, ideas, learning, and networking. Our Education team presented on GBL and participated in the 3rd annual Game Night! For 4 days San Antonio became a magical, techy wonderland for all ISTE participants.

While at ISTE, our education team felt exhilarated by the big trends in technology for education! In education, we know that a lot of innovative ideas come out of conferences and they drive the education community to move toward new ideas and techniques that better prepare our students for the future. Some trends our team noticed were makerspaces, coding, mixed reality, and game-based learning.

If you are not familiar with makerspaces, it is time to get your students creating! At the conference, presenters urged teachers to not only allow their students to create but to give students opportunities to publish their works. (Check out this blog for ideas to help build a makerspace – http://ideas.demco.com/blog/lean-startup-approach-starting-your-makerspace/)

Coding is here to stay. Many companies are adding coding activities for students on their sites. There is a push to have students as young as kindergarten play and learn the concepts of coding. Robots are also becoming more accessible for classrooms and are allowing students to apply their coding skills into action! (Check out this article for ideas on coding – https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/250323)

Some new ideas on the rise in technology for education are virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR). Pokemon Go has created a whole world of learning through augmented reality that has now evolved into many new companies that are providing workable reality platforms that are allowing students to experiment with their understanding of virtual, augmented and the new mixed reality, which is a combination of both. (Check out this website for more information on mixed reality – http://www.cnbc.com/2016/06/01/bored-of-virtual-reality-microsofts-betting-on-mixed-reality-now.html)

Dig-It! Games was among many friends in the GBL community as games for education is still a staple at the technology conference. With new advancements in VR, AR, and MR, Dig-It! Games is looking forward to incorporating new technology into our games that will heighten the player’s experience. Get excited for new things coming from Dig-It! Games!


Dig-It! Games is going to ISTE

Dig-It! Games is super excited! This June 25 – June 28, 2017, Dig-It! Games is traveling to the ISTE Conference in San Antonio, Texas! Our company will be presenting and participating in a variety of events. We are so excited to bring our games to the ISTE conference, which has been held in numerous U.S. cities every year for the last three decades, to excite teachers with the potential to heighten their instruction. We are slated to present, Become a Game-Based Learning Guru and are planning to attend numerous social events.

ISTE began almost 40 years ago as a way for K-12 educators to network about changes in learning and to make the biggest impact for our students. Dig-It! Games feels that our mission to build fun, educational games for middle-school-aged students is directly aligned with the mission of ISTE. We know that learning needs to be fun and we design fun games that meet a variety of learners needs. By building digital games, we are building bridges from curriculum to learning in a safe, fun, engaging way.

Come check us out on Monday, June 25th for our workshop that will teach instructors on the elements of game-based learning and learn how to evaluate games for their curriculum needs. You can also look for us at any of the gaming networking events Sunday, Monday and Tuesday night. Some events we are planning to attend are ISTE Game Night/LAN Party: Networking with Games, Online Learning Network Annual Meeting, Ed Tech Coaches Network Annual Membership Meeting, and EduMachinima Fest 2017. The ISTE conference is a great way to meet fellow educators that have a thirst for new knowledge and love technology integration in their classrooms. Come check us out and get some Dig-It! Games swag!


Games to Prepare for Testing

April is a busy time of the year, and it also signifies that the school year will soon end. The end of the school year means one thing in the education field, review of all content material cover in the curriculum to help students prepare for their end-of-year projects and assessments. What is the best way to prepare students? Some teachers use review packets and drill practice worksheets. However, the best way to review the content and prepare for testing is to have students play games! 

At Dig-It! Games, we have numerous games that help students review standards in the intermediate and middle school grade levels.

 

Loot Pursuit: Early America is a great game for 4th, 5th, and 6th-grade students to practice math computation and U.S. History standards on Jamestown. 

 

 

Exotrex Episode 1 allows students to review concepts taught in Physical Science and Earth Science standards. 

 

 

Excavate! is a series of ancient civilization games on the social, cultural and economic standards of the cultures of Maya, Egypt, and Mesopotamia through ancient artifacts.

 

Games allow students multiple attempts where a state assessment/end-of-year test only gives the student one chance with the material. Games enable students to play with concepts and materials taught during the year in a quick, safe and easy way to help students practice and cement the information they are reviewing. For all students no matter the grade, there is a lot of curriculum covered in a school year, and a subject specific game can allow students to fail at concepts while practicing over and over again until the student and the teacher feel that they have mastered the concepts needed to pass the yearly assessments.

As the end of the school year nears to a close and those state tests draw closer, make sure your students are ready! Check out our games as well as others to help your students prepare for their final assessments!

 


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