Marbotic is a French-based educational toy company that believes tablets are innovative educational tools, but that learning and playing must comprise of more than just swiping a finger. They’ve invented specialized wooden blocks that can be paired with tablets to allow interaction between the physical world and digital spaces.
The blocks are shaped like numbers or letters and when they are pressed upon an iPad, they facilitate an action or movement on the screen. For instance, if a child presses the block shaped like the number one to the screen, it will leave a digital stamp of the number. The toys are geared mostly toward very young learners in the early stages of literacy and mathematics skill-building. The toys also come in eight different languages.
The wooden blocks are reminiscent of toys from a previous era. They do not require wifi, Bluetooth, or batteries to operate, but their innovation becomes clear when paired with a tablet. The company also promises that the blocks are gentle on screens, and will not cause scratches.
The creators of the blocks used Montessori teaching methods in the design of their products. They even offer free lesson plans for teachers to easily incorporate this technology into classrooms and they promise that these lessons are all common core compatible, too.
The biggest drawback for the Marbotic blocks comes from their price. There are three different sets: the numbers cost around $40, the letters cost $60, and a bundled set runs $90. The blocks are compatible with the company’s apps that run on both Apple or Android tablet devices.
There are currently seven different apps to choose from. While they are all free, users will need the specific blocks to make them work. Additionally, after spending almost $100 on the blocks, the limited number of apps might disappoint parents.
Marbotic blocks bring old school cool to play time. The blend between the physical and digital spaces is a refreshing addition to screen-dominated edtech toys. However, the price might be too steep for the somewhat limited offerings.Image: via Marbotic