- By: Kate Hay Published: 02 March, 2018 0 comments
We understand that there are a LOT of considerations when evaluating and purchasing STEM educational products - and one of the most important is how the company supports the school and teachers after the purchase.
And of all days that I am writing this, an EduTech blog shows up in my inbox ‘It’s Time to Hold Edtech Companies Accountable’, which pretty much highlights all the benefits of working with Parallax for STEM Robotic education. Thank you to Matthew Lynch (author) for helping me explain how Parallax supports our schools and teachers:
Make sure they provide support.
Robotics can enrich STEM education by providing circuitry, engineering and programming skills but not all teachers have this background and skill set to feel comfortable teaching robotics. Parallax supports teachers with free professional development, instructional webinars and and educator hotline. We also offer onboarding services for schools and districts. In addition, we have a dedicated Educator Hotline and Tech Support Hotline.
Make sure that the developers of the product are in the educational field or consulted with educators.
Product development is led and conducted by our Education Team, including professionals in the education field. We have trained approximately 5,000 teachers over the last 20 years and currently are running professional development courses across the country for 500 educators - and these are currently free. Two of our staff are either fully or preliminary credentialed. You can find how our small robots align with several different standards on the Parallax Robotics Standards Matrix.
Make sure that that customer service is responsive to issues and defects.
Parallax products are made in the USA, at our headquarters in Rocklin, CA. You can read more about our manufacturing and lifetime warranty policy here. Did I mention we have been in business for 30 years? We know how to support our customers!
Make sure you understand how the tool is used.
Parallax dedicates an entire portion of our website to how to use the products. At our learn.parallax.com site educators can visit and find resources for our educational products - curriculum and assessments with diagrams, schematics and videos. We also can schedule a video conference for teachers to provide demos and answer questions.
Make sure you don’t have to buy anything else to get the product to work, or to enhance its potential.
Free tech support, educator resources (Learn website) and programming platform - all schools need to do is purchase the hardware. For example, schools that purchase the ActivityBot 360° Robot Kit will have access to the tutorials and assessments, which provide at least 30 hours of in-class activities.
Make sure the product is scalable and flexible.
Whether your students are beginners, or are already familiar with programming, we have the right tools for your unique classroom. Parallax’s educational kits foster skill development through individualized learning practices, as well as through collaborative group projects and competitions. For students who may benefit from learning programming fundamentals before focusing on the often-challenging concept of language and syntax, we offer the BlocklyProp visual programming tool. Our programming platform can switch between BlocklyProp (graphical) to C (text based).
In addition, our products are compatible with Mac, PC and Chromebooks.
Perhaps most importantly, Parallax’s Propeller Multicore Microcontroller is used in industry.
Make sure you know how it saves student information, and how the data is managed.
User registration is required for our programming platform, which follows the Federal Trade Commission Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and does not collect, use or disclose personal information from system users.
Make sure that there isn’t something comparable for less or free.
Parallax kits won’t strain your budget over time. The curricular resources and software needed are all free. Your only cost is the initial purchase. In the event that you do need to replace parts and components, these parts are available at a very reasonable cost through our website.
- Kate Hay