There’s a new trend amongst startups – and amongst kids’ toys: educational playthings that teach your little ones STEM skills like programming and coding.
Toys that double as learning tools are nothing new, but digital, connected technology still is, and so is the idea that your toddler can get a leg up in the tech industry by getting an early start.
Parents, universities, and economists seem concerned that acquiring STEM skills will soon be the only way to guarantee a good job, despite reports from the U.S. Census Bureau that 3 out of 4 STEM majors end up in non-STEM fields anyway.
So if your kid is more into, say, baseball or dancing than computers, you might be wasting the pretty pennies these high-powered educational toys will cost you.
Kids, with their alarmingly short attention spans, are as likely to toss these toys back into the toybox as any other. But if your wee one seems to have a knack for all things technical – or if you’d just rather see them learn how to build a device than passively stare at one all day – then check out TC’s guide to STEM toys.
Even though these toys are marketed towards the younger set, I found myself a little envious, wishing I could take a few for a test drive – especially since many of them are modern, high-tech reboots on old standbys from my childhood.
Lego’s Boost Creative Toolbox uses the same classic Lego blocks, but allows you to animate and program your creations.
Several products cross-market with some of my childhood favorites; Dash Robotics has teamed up with Mattel to make Jurassic World robots, and Kano makes a Harry Potter Coding Kit that teaches kids to program a wand that can interact with digital content. There’s even Electro Dough which is basically electrically-conductive Play-Doh that can light up and make sounds. I want!
In fact, a lot of the toys combine arts ‘n’ crafts with STEM lessons. Adafruits makes a marker with electronically conductive ink that can light up circuits and interact with computer programs, and an electronic pencil that synthesizes music. Root Robotic’s little bot can draw pictures and compose songs.
For the more straightforward tech nerds, Makeblock, Evo, Robo Wunderkind, and Wonder Workshop all make programmable robots – a big step up from the “artificially intelligent” Furby’s of my childhood. Sphero’s Bolt is a ball-shaped robot, while Airblock makes a programmable hovercraft.
The holidays are just around the corner – but whether STEM educational toys will be the next Tickle Me Elmo remains to be seen.
Calendly just dropped an automated scheduling feature you NEED to try
(TECHNOLOGY) Calendly added a new automated scheduling feature, Routing Forms, with a twist. If typical scheduling hasn’t been your thing, try this.
Routing Forms, a new feature of Calendly, is a way to screen and qualify meeting participants to schedule customers with the right person.
Calendly is a popular scheduling system that has been getting rave reviews for quite some time. The American Genius promoted it in 2015 as a way to avoid email tags when setting appointments. Millions of people around the world use Calendly for business to streamline scheduling between customers, clients, and teams. A new feature, Routing Forms, can help get customers to get to the right person or resources.
How Routing Forms works
Routing Forms integrates with Calendly by asking screening questions of someone who wants to schedule a meeting with you or your team. Calendly uses that information to send the person to the right person to meet with or to the resources the person needs. This can help your business prioritize scheduling with qualified customers and by getting the customer to the right person the first time. It saves time for everyone and offers a better customer experience. According to Calendly’s website, Routing Forms eliminates missed opportunities and booking delays that are common with manual follow-up. Routing Forms can be embedded into your website for a streamlined customer experience.
Automated scheduling helps you connect – but is there a price?
Calendly bills itself as a way to “take the work out of connecting with others so you can accomplish more.” Routing Forms is a great way to integrate scheduling while qualifying customers to “get more business with less work.” But the debate over automated scheduling continues. There are opponents who believe that automated scheduling is rude. Keep in mind how your audience will perceive your scheduling questions. Not everyone likes automated scheduling and wants to use it. Always offer another way to get a meeting with a representative.
How to build apps without knowing how to code (it’s actually common!)
(TECHNOLOGY) No-code app-building tools are becoming more available to the everyday user, which could lead to more inventive and original apps.
“Learn to code” is a common, frustrating refrain often hurled at job-seekers, entrepreneurs, creative professionals, and others. Depending on who’s saying it, the intent could range from well-meaning to willfully hurtful.
It does, in a way, make sense. Computer programming is the foundational language that modern life is built on. And while many people use technology that they don’t understand every day—from microwaves to cars—there’s something a little different about programming. It’s omnipresent for just about anyone, just about everywhere, whether they use it for work or not. And more people use it for work than ever. It’s the single most sought-after skill in the job market.
But “learn to code” isn’t practical for everyone. Not everyone with an app idea has the time to learn how to build an app from scratch, or the money to hire people to do it for them. That’s where the low-code/no-code movement comes in. It’s all about giving the people the tools they need to execute on an idea without having to learn an entire new skill set. When you bake a cake, you probably don’t grind wheat into flour, and when you build an app, you don’t have to start with Python.
No-code isn’t really a new idea.
The fact that computers have menus and icons is the result of early programmers realizing that non-programmers would have to use a computer sometimes. You could look to tools like RPG Maker that let people build their own video games back in 1992. RPG Maker was like a Lego kit for making a video game. And not only is it still going strong, it proved itself prophetic. It turns out that giving people tools and a sand box is a great way to enable creativity.
This has been the long arc of the Internet, too. There was a time when participating in the World Wide Web in a meaningful way meant learning to program. Places like Geocities gave you real estate to set up a website. But you had to build that site yourself. We’ve moved away from that as the Internet commodified. Sites like Facebook and Twitter remove customization in the name of uniformity.
But creative tools persist. Consider “WYSIWYG,” or “What You See Is What You Get” web editors. These are tools like WordPress that reclaimed some of that Internet customization. They give you assets to build a website, and you plug them in where you want.
It’s a middle ground between building from scratch, and having everything handed to you. It’s the sweet spot of accessible creativity. (If you’ve never heard anyone say “WYSIWYG,” that’s probably because these web development tools are so common that they don’t really need a special name anymore.)
Right now, one of the biggest areas of no-code design is in app development. These app dev tools are similar to building a WordPress site. They give you the raw materials, and you customize and assemble them however you want to. Adalo, a no-code platform for building apps, lets your bring assets and ideas to the table, and gives you a framework to organize those ideas into an app.
They aren’t alone. AppOnboard, a no-code software development suite, purchased Buildbox, a leading no-code game development platform. Their combined resources represent a stunning library of assets, full of potential.
What does this mean for coders? Probably not much. Specialized skills are still in high demand. But for the rest of us, a slow democratization of development is taking place, and it’s exciting to watch it take shape.
Recall announced by Daily Harvest via aesthetic post, gets major backlash
(BUSINESS) Trendy meal delivery service, Daily Harvest, sticks to branding by announcing a serious food recall via Instagram, met with obvious backlash.
What NOT to do when things go south.
We can learn a lot from other businesses’ mistakes. Check out Daily Harvest, for example.
Daily Harvest is a trendy food home delivery service. They are under heavy backlash from their customers following a recall on their lentil and leek crumbles meal. Multiple customers have reported stomach issues after eating this meal.
Users across social media accounts such as Reddit, Twitter, and Instagram have complained about nausea, vomiting, and liver damage symptoms after consuming this dish. Several customers even reported hospitalization.
a food poisoning scandal is sweeping the dtc meal kit influencer space and i simply cannot look away pic.twitter.com/ISPQEFwiHB
— paris martineau (@parismartineau) June 21, 2022
How did Daily Harvest react?
As entrepreneurs, we are all aware that things are going to go wrong from time to time. And as humans, we know that how we respond to these issues determines the future of our business.
Well, Daily Harvest’s social team didn’t get the memo as you’ll see by their response on social.
They issued a recall notice by using a vague aesthetic product image of the questionable lentil meal with a caption that read “UPDATE 6/19: An important message regarding our French Lentil + Leek Crumbles. Link in bio with details.” Daily Harvest’s inability to take control and react with clear communication to aid their customers shows us how NOT to handle an urgent situation. Their ambiguous caption provides no real information or help to their consumers and they have noticed.
They have since deleted the original post from Instagram, but we all know the internet never forgets. This is how they launched their product recall.
As of 10:58 – June 22, 2022 this is how the notice appears on the main page of their website:
Upon further examination, I can find hardly a mention of the recall other than the home page and the actual product listing itself. I did confirm that I was not able to purchase the product through their web-based system at this time. Maybe most of their traffic lands on the home page, but why not go ahead and put the banner at the top of every page until this gets resolved? Not to mention how it appears at the top of the home page. It’s barely noticeable.
If you click on the details, the notice on their website details the steps Daily Harvest claims to be taking to handle the sickness reports from the voluntary recall, to direct consumer communication, and the investigation with the FDA along with current results.
What’s the takeaway?
Do better than Daily Harvest and you’ll already be a winner.
No, seriously you will!
But first, consider posting eye-catching imagery or text for your consumer. The text should be in the image posts themselves and in the captions. Pin it to the top of your social media accounts. Share it to stories. Make sure every page on your website has a banner and it’s noticeable. Over-communicate with your customers.
Do all of these and you’re already beating Daily Harvest.
Business News2 weeks ago
Email remains the top communication tool for businesses – here’s why
Business News1 week ago
10 ways retailers track repeat customers that you can implement now
Business Marketing1 week ago
Use nostalgia as a marketing niche for your business today
Business News1 week ago
5 reasons why you need a mentor, stat!
Opinion Editorials2 weeks ago
The one easy job interview question that often trips up applicants
Tech News5 days ago
How to build apps without knowing how to code (it’s actually common!)
Opinion Editorials5 days ago
Strong leaders can use times of crises to improve their company’s future
Business Marketing1 week ago
5 tips to help you craft consistently high-converting email marketing