Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Dash and Dot Robots with Young and Eager Learners!

Dash and Dot Robots with Young and Eager Learners
Melissa Cuevas
Knob Hill Elementary

My name is Melissa Cuevas and I teach at Knob Hill Elementary in San Marcos. Last spring, I was able to attend the National CUE conference in Palm Springs for the first time. At the conference, I decided to focus on learning about implementing robotics which is something I knew very little about. At the conference I was introduced to Dash and Dot robots from Wonder Workshop. They are fun and engaging and make coding and robotics fun and exciting for young eager learners. They encourage collaboration and teamwork as well as teaching children important higher level critical thinking and problem solving skills. Not only is robotics important and exciting to have in the classroom, students should be learning these skills in preparation for a future that will demand these important skills. The ideal classroom that is setup for teaching robotics should have multiple robots and devices so students are able to work in small groups to complete tasks.

After the conference, I decided to strive to get these amazing learning tools in my classroom by looking for available resources through grants and fundraising organizations. I was able to obtain some robots through Donor’s Choose and was then in need of the devices to go with the robots. Luckily after applying, I was awarded the SDCUE mini grant for $1,000. WIth that money, I was able to purchase 3 refurbished iPad mini devices and the cases to go with these devices.

I now use the devices in my classroom when working with the robots on a weekly basis. They are a tools that will last for years and will be used with many students. There are many apps that can be downloaded onto the iPads to be used with the Dash and Dot robots. The apps vary in the skills that are taught and learning can be adapted to meet specific student needs. They are high quality and durable and excellent tools to use with robotics and coding. Not only do I use the devices in robots, they are also used as extra learning tools for many of the programs that my school implements that require electronic devices. The best part of being able to get these devices is that they will be used for many years to come and be put in the hands of my students every day!