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.
Each month we publish blogs and several newsletters full of digital learning, funding, professional growth, social media, and STEM resources. Below are items from our blogs and newsletters that educators turned to the most in April.
The New York Hall of Science (NYSCI) pioneered Design–Make–Play, a novel approach to learning and engagement, drawing on deeper learning research and supporting the creation of learning experiences that develop critical thinking, knowledge integration, innovation, and creativity skills.
Eighth-grade girls outperformed their male peers in five out of six STEM content areas in the most recent National Assessment of Educational ProgressTechnology and Engineering Literacy assessment. Girls were especially strong in testing categories related to communication and collaboration. Nearly all student subgroups posted increases in scores, including among black students, Asian students, white students, low-income students, public school students, students whose parents did not finish high school, and those whose parents graduated college.
Diversity-specialized programs equip students with the knowledge, resources, and skillsets they need to achieve STEM opportunities in computing. Code as a Second Language (CSL) is a national initiative that works toward introducing youth to computer science and making technical training and careers accessible to women and underrepresented minorities.