Creative Learning with Cozmo
At Anki, an AI robotics startup, I led education product management and creative learning strategy for Cozmo, a programmable AI robot, focusing on empowering children to explore, organize, and express their ideas creatively with Cozmo’s Scratch blocks-based Code Lab platform. I have a soft spot for the intersection of the physical and the digital worlds in computing, and was intrigued by the idea of leveraging the best part of Cozmo — a playful, mischevious, and joyful personality that has the uncanny ability to make kids and adults alike immediately smile and engage — as a pathway into and companion for creativity and computing.
As Anki’s first and only hire focused on optimizing product and building community around Cozmo and creative learning, my job was multifaceted. My objective was to create innovative product releases and initiatives that bridged creativity, AI robotics, and learning for our users while enhancing how Anki thought about their most successful product, and ultimately, the company itself. During my time at Anki as the Education Lead on the Product Team, I worked on:
EDU Mode in Code Lab: Spearheaded the enhancement and optimization of Code Lab for education environments
Open-ended learning resources: Designed and shipped the Create with Cozmo book (below), and prototyped activity guides and coding cards to encourage creativity, experimentation, and problem-solving across digital and physical environments
Creative learning strategy & messaging: Worked cross-functionally to nurture relationships with engineering, design, marketing, and PR teams to steer product decisions, implement parent and learner-centered strategy, build relationships with partners, and shape messaging
Learning-centered partnerships: Fostered and steered partnerships with learning institutions, including the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh to create a STEM curriculum for Cozmo aligned with NGSS and CSTA standards; spearheaded Anki’s 2019 CSforAll Commitment
Hands-on workshop facilitation: Facilitated hands-on workshops for parents and children that encourage playful exploration, co-learning, self-expression, and fearless creativity
Create with Cozmo - Workbook
As my first project at Anki, I drove content design and production management of Create with Cozmo: Fun ways to code your robot sidekick, a 95-page workbook with leveled coding projects, open-ended challenges, and suggestions for how to use code as a tool for self-expression. Create with Cozmo nearly sold out in the US and UK.
Most coding curriculums lead with CS concepts: teaching loops, conditionals, and variables before kids get to create their own projects. Create with Cozmo instead introduces coding concepts in the context of project ideas, so kids can reference them as they build their own projects, while their creativity and intrinsic motivation is prioritized.
Create with Cozmo - Anki.com
I worked with the Marketing Team to rebrand and redesign how Anki’s website introduced Cozmo’s Code Lab and the idea of creative coding. Based on reports generated by our Consumer Insights team, we knew that most parents valued STEM education but did not always feel equipped to support their kids in pursuing STEM projects. In our redesign, we strove to strike a balance between showcasing Cozmo’s capacities as a STEM product and illuminating the value of developing fluency with technology through making, creating, and coding.
We hoped to highlight the ways that Code Lab invites kids to be creators, rather than consumers, of AI robotics and modern technologies, while introducing parents to the ideas behind creative coding. We scaffolded information the Create with Cozmo site by separating sections into three parts: About, Create, and Projects. In About, parents get a sense of the value of the product. In Create, we showcase both the functionality of the code blocks and what they can be used to make Cozmo do. In Projects, we show sparks of ideas that kids and parents can refer to as they build and tinker with their own projects.