Steaming ahead with tech-driven education
Makeblock, whose devices sharpen kids’ minds, has global designs
However, overseas expansion is not an easy path, Wang says, especially in such markets as the US, where robotics and STEAM education are mature.
Primary school students in the US are familiar with programming, and a number of local competitors have been operating in that market for a long time.
“What we do is offer comprehensive services, instead of focusing only on hardware manufacturing, to add value to our offerings. For example, we would launch workshops, training programs and other events to provide various levels of support to our users,” he says.
The company is also making efforts to enhance robotics and STEAM education by organizing competitions.
In July this year, Makeblock partnered with the Mexican government for a nationwide robotics competition called Robomath Challenge. More than 200 teams from 32 regions in the country participated in the contest.
Wang admits that, although robotics and STEAM education are gaining increasing awareness and recognition, some countries are finding it difficult to promote them due to a lack of resources.
A major challenge is that schools do not have teachers who have expertise in this field, as it is still a relatively new concept to many people; also, cultivating educators requires time, he says.
“Despite the current situation, STEAM education is going to bring a revolution to the industry. Deep integration of education and technology will definitely be the trend,” he says.
According to a report by Londonbased market research firm Technavio, the global educational robot market is expected to grow at an annual rate of more than 21 percent by 2020.
Robot lovers play with Makeblock products at a technology carnival organized by the company in Shenzhen.