Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Smart Buddies™ ~ A Review

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

My daughter has been having fun playing with her Smart Buddies at HomeJodi from Pitsco Education. There are eight different Smart Buddies™available. The target grade is 3-5. With that said my daughter is just finishing the 6th grade and has really enjoyed her Smart Buddy experience. There are both boy and girl Smart Buddies™. Each Smart Buddy™ has a different hobby/talent and educational strength. For example, "Jodi loves fun and adventure, and her world is always filled with tons of excitement. Between studying organic chemistry in Italy and cooking up new creations, Jodi is always busy! She combines her love for cooking and science and uses chemical reactions to create tasty dishes for her best friend and family to enjoy. But Jodi struggles to find her place in an all-male science class and can't help but feel like the odd girl out." 

Each Smart Buddy™ comes with:
  • Your Smart Buddy™
  • Smart Buddy™Siggy robot scooter with integrated LiPo rechargeable battery
  • USB charging cord
  • Access to the Smart Buddies™app
  • Printed quick-start guide

So what exactly does the Siggy do? The Siggy moves, lights up, makes sounds, and solves a series of code based missions. You simply balance your Smart Buddy™ on the Siggy for a couple of seconds using the wrist clips and placing your buddies feet in the footings base. Once you hear a beep you know that your siggy is adequately balanced. 

We were having an issue with our Siggy glitching. It was stopping and falling. We got on the website and there was an option to talk to someone via a virtual chat. I chatted back and forth with a representative for awhile. The representative asked multiple questions to try and trouble shoot common problems and issues. It was finally determined that we had a defective Siggy. This transpired in the evening. The next day I had a representative contact me via e-mail to collect a bit more information and a new Smart Buddy™ was sent out. The new Siggy worked great! They sent a pre-paid label to send back the defective Smart Buddy™. Awesome customer service. 

The Smart Buddies™ App is easy to download. The App is the one in the 
lower right hand corner of the screen. There is an App for Android and 
Chromebook, iOS, and Kindle. 

Each Siggy has its own identifiable license plate. 

There are 6 activities included in the app. Activities include free play to coding. 

The following activities included are:
  • E-books ~ Each character has his/her own book. 
  • Free Play ~ A joystick gives your child free control of the Siggy. Free play moves can be recorded and stored for later replay. 
  • Path ~ Your child can draw a path for the Siggy to follow. 
  • Learn ~ Takes your child through 10 coding lessons that teach basic block coding elements. Each lesson poses problems that introduces new elements that build on knowledge acquired from previous lessons.
  • Sandbox ~ Learners implement their knowledge gained from the Learn activity.
  • Missions ~ These are tasks. Users have to code the Siggy's path through a maze and the task has to be solved accurately. 

There are two different reading levels, Primary and Intermediate. 
The Smart Buddy™ is geared for grades 3-5. 

My daughter used the Free Play activity mode the most.

Coding was a brand new concept for my daughter as well as for myself.
I was very grateful for the Coding Program Parent Guide available
on the Pitsco Education Website. 

The guide gives easy to follow step-by-step instructions, learning objectives,
and materials needed for each activity. They even provide definitions or 
"Smart Buddy™ Lingo" as it is called such as pseudocode - a set of step-by-step
instructions that is translated into code. 

Here is my daughter using Jodi on the Free Play mode. 

Here are some of the Activities that I printed out from the website. While on the
website I also found a fabulous treasure trove of helpful videos to watch that various
people have posted. These are very helpful when you still don't quite understand an
activity. These can be found on the Pitsco website under Resources and then Video Gallery.

This is a drawing done on the Path Activity section of the app. Your 
child simply has to use their finger to draw any shape and a small virtual
Smart Buddy™ on a Siggy will show up on the screen and follow the path
that your child has draw. Your child can then choose to have their Smart Buddy™
duplicate the same path. Your child can save the paths that they create or erase
them once they are finished. 

Using the Path Activity for the Siggy to follow. 

Smart Buddies™ has so many valuable learning values.

I was quite impressed with the Smart Buddies™ capabilities. My daughter has greatly enjoyed playing with and learning about coding with her Smart Buddy™ Jodi. I love the company's philosophy which is to, "help more children identify with STEM, be much more inspired to continue their coding and STEM education journey, and ultimately contribute to bringing much-needed diversity to the STEM workforce." Definitely check out what my fellow Crew Members had to say about Smart Buddies™ as well as many other fabulous educational products from Pitsco Education. 

Pitsco Education is generously
sponsoring a giveaway!
Be sure to ENTER for your chance 
to win a Smart Buddy™ for your child!

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