In the old days, we rummaged through our parents’ garages turning soda cans into hockey pucks, cardboard boxes into magical forts, and bedsheets into magician’s capes. We found joy in using our imagination to transform simple and unassuming things into the building blocks of something truly extraordinary.
Technology runs our world today, and our children are becoming more and more glued to their screens. We want them to grow up not being mere consumers of these digital tools. We need new ways to play that take them beyond the screen. As parents, we want our children to find their own joy in learning and become shapers of their own worlds.
Dash & Dot are modern-day tools that enable creativity. This holiday season, explore the world of coding with your children after a family meal or when the cousins come into town. And remember the spark of inspiration you got from that cardboard box or tire swing while you played as a child.
So here’s to creativity. We hope you’ll keep exploring with us on this next phase of our journey – helping every child question, think, and create. Every day.
This week, Dash & Dot kicked off Hour of Code with the folks from code.org, students from Newark, NJ, White House officials including the CTO of the United States, and President Barack Obama! On Monday morning, Dash & Dot sat next to the president and watched him write his first line of code: moveforward(100); The fact that the president is taking time out of his busy schedule to do a line of code shows how important he thinks it is for the future of education.
We attended a panel about the importance of computer science education with government officials, school district superintendents, and tech company leaders. The biggest challenge schools face in bringing computer science into the classroom is that most teachers don’t know how to code and haven’t taught it before. The National Science Foundation and code.org are doing great work in creating curriculum and professional development for teachers across the country. We are excited to be working with our pilot programs to forge the way in creating curriculum to make learning to code more accessible for teachers and students alike!
Hadi Partovi leads a panel of superintendents, thought leaders, and government officials about how we can bring coding into every school.
The next part of the day was the most exciting… Dash & Dot finally got to come out to play! Students from Newark, NJ came to the White House to check out tools, apps, and websites that help them learn to code. For each student in attendance, there were at least a few other adult observers, so the pressure was on to start writing programs! Many of these students had never coded before, and we were impressed at how quickly they were able to start creating and remixing programs in our Blockly app.
Students and attendees watching as Mark DeLoura, Senior Advisor for Digital Media, welcomed everyone.
The setup with desks and laptops was not quite optimal for mischievous robots who like to run around, so we created a makeshift hockey field right in the middle of the room! We had the students make teams of two to play a game of hockey with chairs in place of goals. Before long, they were strategizing about which way the robot needed to turn and how far the robot needed to go in order to get as many pucks into their goal as quickly as possible. “It’s easier to break your strategy down into small steps,” one student said, “that way, you can try it out and then fix your code easily.”
The winning faces were priceless. We asked them what the secret to their success was, and both girls said “teamwork” in unison. Learning to code, especially with tangible devices, not only helps build spatial reasoning and creative problem solving skills but also helps kids build confidence and learn to collaborate. We came back from the White House fired up and inspired to make learning to code with Dash & Dot a fun and social experience in classrooms.
Winners of the hockey challenge!
And this is only the beginning. This week is about more than just one Hour of Code — the Hour of Code movement hopes to light a spark so that students can experiment with different ways of learning and be empowered to learn beyond the hour. Teachers across the country are also starting to use Dash & Dot with their students this week! We can’t wait to see what they come up with to inspire their children to question, think, and create.
Follow the hashtag #makewonder to see what’s going on in classrooms in real time!
Today marks the start of Computer Science Education Week! Thanks to the efforts of code.org, the Hour of Code has become a global movement reaching millions of students across the world.
We are excited to be working with teachers and schools this year to bring Dash & Dot to children across the country from New York to Nebraska and all the way to Hawaii. Dash & Dot are currently at the White House meeting administration officials, advocating for the importance of computer science in schools!
Join us in the Bay Area!
Dash & Dot are going to be at the Children’s Creativity Museum in San Francisco all week in the Innovation Lab on the 2nd Floor. We will also have events this weekend in San Francisco and San Jose. Check out the hours, and we hope to see you there!
Hour of Code Project Ideas
Get coding with these challenges especially made for Hour of Code! They involve design, building, and programming with Dash & Dot. Try them at home, or visit us at one of our special Wonder Workshop events in the Bay Area.
Follow the Leader
Today is the first day of Robot Bootcamp, and your mission is to teach the robots to follow you around. More details >>
Your trusty robot assistants are ready to help you send a very important message or package to a friend. More details >>
Dash & Dot love to dress up, wear costumes, and play. Turn your robots into any creature you can imagine More details >>
Enter to win a Dash & Dot pack!
During CS Ed Week, we are giving away 5 Dash & Dot packs! Win one for yourself or for a local school. Tell us how you’d like to use Dash & Dot. Draw a picture, make a video, or write up an idea. Then Tweet it or post to Facebook with #makewonder and fill out this form.
Today we are launching the iOS developer API and updated portal! By this time, most developer pack backers are just getting their robots. Head over to our start page to download the apps and start exploring Dash & Dot’s features! You can download Go, Blockly, and Path at this time, and Xylo will be coming soon.
We have updated the documentation in our developer portal and added a section with resources including best practices and getting started. Note that this release is a beta version that lets you start controlling all the features of the robots. The next release in January will include libraries (for robot connection, image assets, and sounds) and authentication. The beta version of the Android API will also be coming in the next few months.
We already have some great uses of Dash’s microphone and distance sensor! Check out this video of how Martin is playing tag and Marco Polo with Dash & Dot!
We’ve thought of many uses for Dash & Dot that we’d love to see in the world. Here they are – perhaps they will help provide some inspiration of an app to build!
Robot puppet master - puppet the physical robot with your hands while the app records the motion from the encoder and head sensors. Then play the motion back!
Dash Dash Revolution – program a dance app so the robots can dance to the beat of a song!
Magic Dot ball – shake Dot and get a prediction of what’s going to happen next!
Your pet robot - make Dash into a pet that requires food, water, and a daily walk. Program Dash to do tricks too!
Hot potato - program playground games to play with Dot!
Do you have ideas for an application of Dash & Dot that you’d like to see? Write them in the comments!
It was more than a year ago now that we took our first pre-order for Dash & Dot — who you may know as Bo & Yana. We start shipping today in order of backer number and are happy to deliver your robots to you and your family. The road from our first pre-orders to now has been a great journey, and at every step on the way we’ve strived to create a product we are proud to deliver to you.
We thank you for your patience, enthusiasm, and support. We want to welcome you to the Wonder Workshop family. Today marks the beginning of our journey together. It starts with Dash & Dot, and there’s more to come. We look forward to your inputs, comments, thoughts, feedback, and suggestions. There are multiple apps you can start with when you get your robots — and we plan to both improve these and release new apps over the next several months and years to come.
When we started the company, we wanted to make learning to code accessible and fun for everyone, especially kids at a young age. We wanted to build products that empower children to question, think, and create. We hope that as your kids enjoy playing with Dash & Dot, they discover a new kind of creativity with the modern day tools.
When we founded Play-i in 2012, we were inspired by our own children. We saw that countries like the UK, Estonia, Vietnam, Thailand and others were working hard to make coding a part of elementary school curriculum. As technology is becoming more and more ingrained in our lives, we wanted to make learning to code meaningful and fun, not only for our own children, but for children everywhere.
In only 16 months, we went from an idea to a working prototype to products coming down the assembly line and getting ready to ship to customers. We grew from a few passionate parents to a team of 30, coming from different walks of life, all joined by a common purpose. You, our customers and community, are also part of our mission. We’re deeply humbled by the support we’ve received from you and the challenge to dream big.
Introducing Wonder Workshop
We see kids being told far too much what they should and shouldn’t do. The toy industry tells them which toys it’s okay to play with. Schools measure their success in terms of standardized performance, rather than individual growth. However, as parents, we want kids to learn to think for themselves.
All children are naturally curious, asking endless questions. As more things get automated, we wonder less and less about how things work. When you first learn to code, you start to see the world in a new way. Lines of code are the building blocks of technology, just like wooden frames are the structure for buildings. We want to encourage kids to be curious and to find their own joy in learning. Coding enables creativity and confidence in the modern world.
We’ve been looking for an identity that better reflects who we are as a company. Starting today, our new name is: Wonder Workshop.
Meet Dash & Dot
Bo is now Dash, and Yana is now Dot. As we get closer to launch, we wanted to bring them closer to our mission to make learning to code meaningful and fun for children. Dash & Dot represent the binary 1 and 0, the foundation of all things digital, and also embody the personalities of the robots. We also want Dash & Dot to help kids connect the dots in figuring out how things work. When you get your robots, you can rename them to what you want to call them.
A new look
We rethought the entire Wonder Workshop visual and interactive experience to reflect what we want to be in the hearts and minds of children using our products. Every customer touchpoint, including our applications, community portal, and packaging will bring our vision to empower every child to question, think, and create to life. The Wonder Workshop world will be optimistic, creative, and a little quirky. We want to give children the tools they need to become shapers of their own world.
After going through the rigors of product development, manufacturing, safety and compliance testing, and a lot of play testing, they are still the same robots you have grown to love. Everyone who ordered before today is scheduled to get Dash & Dot, along with their apps and accessories, in time for the holidays. We will keep you updated on our progress let you know as soon as possible about any changes to this schedule. Our team is working around the clock to make sure we can to deliver by the holidays.
This first shipment will be the start of honoring our commitment to you. We will be releasing even more play and learning experiences for Dash & Dot over the months and years to come. Due to overwhelming demand, we are now sold out for the holiday season. But we are still open for business – all future orders will ship starting in January 2015.
With this new identity, we look forward to starting the next chapter of our journey to empower every child to question, think, and create. Stay tuned, and thank you again for all your support.