Matching funds pair robots, underserved classrooms

By Laura Devaney
August 24th, 2015

Dollar-for-dollar match brings robots to classrooms teaching computational thinking

robot-robotsIn the coming years, computer science education will be critical for social mobility of underprivileged communities. However, access to tools and opportunities for schools in these communities is a matter of the right financial support.

Wonder Workshop aims to bridge this gap with its dollar-for-dollar match program for Dash & Dot projects through

Wonder Workshop will match one dollar for every dollar donated towards funding projects that bring the Dash & Dot robots to schools in need.

“This is one small attempt on our behalf to narrow the opportunity gap for underserved communities,” said Vikas Gupta, CEO of Wonder Workshop. “We want to enable teachers who are passionate about giving their students opportunities in a rapidly changing world.”

Dash & Dot are robots with personality and capability. Over 600 elementary schools have purchased the robots for use in their curricula since Dash & Dot started shipping in January 2015. Students use touch applications to program the robots to detect the environment around them using sensors and respond with motion, sound and expressions. Pre-assembled and designed for ease of use, Dash & Dot, their apps, and step-by-step lesson plans help educators seamlessly add coding into curriculum.

“Dash & Dot were a great addition to our Innovations Curriculum,” said Janelle Groehler, a teacher from Rochester, Minnesota who successfully funded a project. “The first and second graders were immediately engaged. Dash & Dot brought out the creativity, ingenuity and problem-solving in my students, all while teaching them how to code.”

There are currently 42 requests on for Dash & Dot robots, and there have already been more than 50 projects successfully funded through Applicants must choose Wonder Workshop as a special request vendor to qualify for the matching program. Because Wonder Workshop seeks to support schools in underserved communities, the company will prioritize funding projects that are in high-poverty schools.

Wonder Workshop is also working with Pencils of Promise, an organization founded in 2008 with the goal of increasing access to quality education for children in the developing world. Pencils of Promise works with communities across the globe to build schools and create programs that provide educational opportunities for children, no matter where they were born or what resources they have. For every purchase of a Dash robot, Wonder Workshop will donate one dollar to Pencils of Promise.

“We seek ways to have an impact on children’s lives that goes beyond coding,” Gupta said. “We arrived at our partnership with Pencils of Promise as an answer to that quest, and we are excited to bring this to fruition.”

Material from a press release was used in this report.

About the Author:

Laura Devaney

Laura Devaney is the Director of News for eSchool Media. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland's Philip Merrill College of Journalism. When she isn't wrangling her two children, Laura enjoys running, photography, home improvement, and rooting for the Terps. Find Laura on Twitter: @eSN_Laura