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Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends assemble. We create gift lists to help you make good choices for kids technology which helps them develop the right skills for the future. We research the best in Coding Toys and Games, Making / Craft Tools and Kits, STEM/STEAM related gifts, Programmable Robots, Electronics Kits and Gadgets for Tech Age Kids and Teens.

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We think it's really important for kids to get hands-on with electronics and learn how to make circuits and write code to control hardware. Younger kids can start with conductive playdough. For kids who like to combine craft and tech, littleBits are fab. And we love SAM Labs wireless electronics components for making it easy for kids to make Internet of Things inventions. Lots of electronics kits for kids have support for the Arduino microprocessor environment. The DuinoKit Jr is one of our favourites. Arduino is a fab skill for older kids and teens to develop.

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MAKING AND CRAFT$show=/search/label/making

We're advocates of the creative use of technology, but this needs to be balanced with developing physical skills such as papercraft, woodwork, clay modelling, technical drawing and soldering. If children don't develop these skills as they grow up then physical making projects can become frustrating rather than fun. The Maker Community uses the term 'making' as a broad term to include all sorts of artisan skills or craft activities. Being able to make things can lead to life-long hobbies or even careers. It's a great feeling to be able to take a project from an idea in your head to a real object that does something. We're particularly interested to explore products that combine maker skills with tech skills such as electronics but others focus purely on the physical making skills that are still important to modern making.

Travel the Globe with Orboot and AR App - Review


Orboot is an augmented reality experience with a physical globe and mobile app. We first saw the project on Kickstarter, which got fully funded. Play Shifu is now making the Orboot experience available to anyone.

The idea of mixing a physical and digital experience to learn something is becoming more popular and in my opinion a much more engaging way for children to consuming information. I took a closer look at Orboot with my two kids (ages 7 and 9).


Disclaimer: Play Shifu send us an Orboot globe with accessories for this review. As always our opinions are our own.

I love traveling and have had the privilege of visiting many places around the world. I want my children to have an understanding of the world and where places are. Sure you can do this with a regular map or like we've done before we had Orboot - a single inflatable globe and an AI device. We found a place on the map and then asked Google/Alexa question about it.

Orboot refines that process and brings the two together with a physical globe and freely available app.

PS. The video below has a great explanation why a flat map doesn't provide an accurate measure of the scale of continents and countries. It's a real eye-opener.



So, you see, studying the world with an actual globe is really useful (not old fashioned!) Let's look what you get in the Orboot kit.

What's in the box

Orboot comes with a real globe, a passport, sticker book and stamp (all neatly stored in a canvas bag) and a free app which is available on iOS, Andriod and Amazon.

My son loved the passport and wants to take it on our real travels and add the stickers of places we've visited. The passport and stickers add great value to the set.



The Globe

The globe comes unassembled, but we had no problem following the instructions and putting it together. Once assembled, you don't need to take it apart. We received the EPS globe (most basic), but there is also a chrome plated version and an illuminated globe which you can plug in.

The graphics on the globe are fun and bright and will look really nice in a child's bedroom. If you're looking for an accurate globe with country borders and city names, then Orboot is not the right globe for you. It does, however, give you a sense of where places are in relation to each other.

The globe should be used with the app to get the full experience.


The App

The Orboot app is available on Google Play, the App Store and Amazon App Store. We've tested the app on my iPad Air 2, iPhone and our Amazon Fire tablet and it all worked as expected.

I was really surprised that the Amazon Fire app worked so well, which is a really good thing, as I wouldn't want a younger child using an expensive tablet unsupervised.

Orboot is suitable for 4+. In terms of usability and safety the age recommendation is right, however, some of the information may be too much for a 4-year-old.

When you open the app the first time, it prompts the child to get an adult to help with the setup. There's a security question (which doesn't change, so you child may figure it out if they watch you enter enough times!) You need to sync different categories, like animals or monuments or cultures, to activate when you scan the globe.

We recommend you pick only one category to begin. They can take some time to download (it's a huge app) and if your child is desperate to get going there will be plenty to explore in a single category. We picked monuments because my son was learning about famous building around the world at school. If you want to add more categories you need to close the app and start again.



The parent page will pop up every time you open the app until you have downloaded all the categories. After this, a child can easily open and use the app without assistance.

Categories currently included are animals, monuments, inventions, cultures, maps & climates and there is two others, cuisines and natural wonders coming soon.

How it works

The app prompt you to scan a small area of the globe to reveal AR items on the screen. It depends which category you downloaded, what you will see. When we hovered over England we saw Big Ben.

Then you click on the image you want to learn more about and another screen opens on the device with a voice over telling you about it. This part was quite funny as there were several different accents used for the audio. Although my husband and I found it quite amusing my son said: "The only thing I don't like is the funny voices!" We'll let you decide!

When you're done, close the screen and scan another part of the globe. My boys did this for hours and I just left them to explore and learn about different parts of the world.


Verdict

Orboot is an interesting experience and makes a great start at bringing learning into the 21st century. Really this is how children should be learning. Hands-on, immersive learning. Knowledge is very accessible these day with the internet, it's how we engage our children with that knowledge and the impact it has on them, that will matter.

Anybody can ask Google to tell them about Big Ben! Using Orboot my son was able to find out where other important building were around the globe. He had some 'ah-ha' moments where he shouted "I didn't know The Taj Mahal and was in India!" He now wants to go to India for a family holiday!

Orboot isn't the largest of globes, so the surface area is somewhat limited, but there is enough content there to keep you engaged for days!

Play Shifu also do a range of flashcards on different topics using their AR technology. If you're looking for something a bit different and educational, then Orboot is a fun 'toy' to consider.

Orboot is available to purchase from Play Shifu online store.





Name

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Tech Age Kids | Technology for Children: Travel the Globe with Orboot and AR App - Review
Travel the Globe with Orboot and AR App - Review
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Tech Age Kids | Technology for Children
https://www.techagekids.com/2018/02/travel-globe-with-orboot-and-ar-app.html
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