Many education experts believe that coding will soon be an essential skill for young people entering the workforce. At the same time, there is growing concern about the increasingly sedentary lifestyles of children. Unruly Studios takes on both issues with a product that makes learning and movement accessible and engaging. The company’s debut product, Splats, consists of two sturdy, interactive floor tiles (or “splats”) that can be pushed, tapped, and even stepped on, as well as a codingapp that uses a simple visual coding language to let children aged 6 and up create games to play on the tiles. The app, which connects to the splats via Bluetooth, features colorful, drag-and-drop boxes of code that children assemble to create their own games. Users can tell the program what to do when the splat is pressed—they can control the device’s lights and sounds, and tally players’ scores, among other functions. The app comes with a few prewritten games, such as a version of Whack-A-Mole that challenges players to press the splat as quickly as possible whenever it lights up in a specific color. As they become more comfortable with coding, children can modify these games—for example, changing the target color or tweaking the timing. Splats will be available in October 2018. A pack of two splats and access to the app will cost $149.99; packs with four tiles ($269) or ten tiles plus a curriculum ($829) will also be available.
ASM Teacher Materials Camp is a weeklong, idea-generating workshop introducing teachers to methods that will make core math and science principles more enticing and relevant to their middle school and high school students. The materials topics are motivators in any engineering, technology, or science course as students complete projects of personal worth to them.
An initiative of Microsoft Philanthropies, TEALS (Technology Education and Literacy in Schools) helps high schools throughout the United States and in British Columbia, Canada, build and grow sustainable computer science programs. TEALS pairs trained computer science professionals from across the technology industry with classroom teachers to team-teach computer science.