I love Robots! I first became interested in using robotics in education in college. Only a few, short years ago I know, but since then my desire to use them with students has only grown. Fueled along the way by being introduced to project based learning and 21st Century Skills. Here's how I got Lego Mindstorm and Sphero Robots in my classroom and how you can too!
My little fascination with using robots grew into a full-blown love affair after I attended a couple of fantastic workshops by Beyond the Chalk. A couple guys who have not only inspired me to learn more about technology and education, but who have had a huge impact on my passion for student creativity, collaboration and control. I highly recommend you and your school check them out!Click on the Pic to learn more about them.
Alright onto the robots. Once I had learned how much learning potential robotics holds and the incredible amount of subjects/lessons you can teach while still meeting the Common Core Standards with them, I had only one thought bouncing around in my head: How do I get these robots in my classroom? While these robots are great for education they are not a product your average teacher or school board can, or are willing to, purchase, especially enough for a classroom. Most teachers spend lots of money on their classroom, but few are willing to drop thousands of dollars on a teaching tool, while great, that is not an absolute necessity. So I had to find the money elsewhere. I began to search around my own community for teaching/technology grants available or any other opportunities available to help me out. Bazinga! Triangle Communication Co-Op in Havre gives out technology grants to teachers and schools in need. If you are a teacher in the central Montana area click Here to see what you can get, whether it's robots or whatever else you need. I applied for the grant and Voila-4 Lego Mindstorm Robots one year and 12 Sphero Robots the next. A big thanks goes out to Triangle Communications!
I live in a community of around 10,000. I found this opportunity pretty easily. There are even more opportunities available in my small, but giving, community if I look and work for them, I'm sure. Imagine what's in yours? Imagine what's available to us in online communities, companies and organizations if we just take advantage of what's out there for us and our students.
Look for more Robots posts to come including: lessons, tips, tricks and projects you can use in your own class.