“I believe the best type of learning is when students are able to make something on their own using the tools and knowledge they learned in class in a way that results in their own personal accomplishment.”
When I was in elementary school, there weren’t any iPads to help with my learning. In today’s world, I feel as though a five-year-old might know more about technology than most people my age. Even though that statement may sound crazy, it is amazing to see how technology can be used as a wonderful resource to take learning to the next level.
Mike Mohammad’s high school Physics class, along with Kate Sommerville and Angela Patterson’s team of fifth graders, were able to exemplify how that previous statement is not as crazy as we think. During a visit to Swanson Elementary School in Brookfield, Wis., I was able to see firsthand how extremely excited the students were to program and navigate a Sphero Ball and participate in several games. Before this activity, I had no idea what a Sphero Ball was, and you may be in the same boat that I was. A Sphero Ball is a robot used with an app to program and play several different games to increase knowledge of programming and coding.
One game that the students interacted with was golf, with the object of the game being that students had to navigate the Sphero Ball into each hole. Being in small groups, each student was able to program and navigate the Sphero Ball over and over again to learn more about the process. This allowed students to be actively engaged, which resulted in the excitement in their eyes when the ball made it into the hole. They were able to work together and help each other out to efficiently get this ball to the designated area. Additionally, the students are able to use the Sphero Ball and incorporate this great tool to learn more about geometry and shapes.
The purpose of an activity like this is to teach students the importance of problem solving skills, while also allowing them to realize that it is okay to fail, but rather than be discouraged by their failure, become motivated by it. Hopefully that motivation will encourage them to continue to practice and hone in on their skills. These skills are vital for kids to learn at a young age. Therefore, the more that students work on problem solving skills, the better prepared they will be for the real world because they will already be equipped with the skills they need to succeed.
By utilizing the Sphero Ball in the classroom, it created an atmosphere where students were able to use their hands and actively interact with learning in a fresh and exciting way. As I see these innovative ways that students are able to learn, it makes me reflect upon my own education where I was not exposed to these new ways of learning and wish I had been. I believe the best type of learning is when students are able to make something on their own using the tools and knowledge they learned in class in a way that results in their own personal accomplishment. As I reflect upon my time with these students and teachers, I can’t help but think how great of a time I had being able to see students excited about learning.
Author: Jennifer Jansen - Marketing Intern