WETZEL COUNTY, W.Va., June 1, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- When Short Line Elementary School transitioned back to in-person learning this spring, PE teacher Mrs. McSweeney had a new activity planned that combined active play with learning to code. Her students are the first in the Wetzel County School District to use Unruly Splats, programmable floor buttons that students code to light up, make sounds, and collect points when stomped on to create their own active games.
"Unruly Splats have been a great way to get kids active and learning coding concepts without even realizing it," said Mrs. McSweeney. "As a PE teacher who has never coded before, I was amazed at how easy it was for me to learn how to use the Splats and teach the students how to manipulate them to create and modify their own games."
Wetzel County Schools plan to roll out Unruly Splats to more schools and teachers across a variety of subjects in the fall to promote two major learning priorities in the district, physical education and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math). The pandemic has heightened attention to student mental and physical health in West Virginia, where childhood obesity rates are some of the highest in the country.
"Unruly Splats show kids that learning how to code doesn't have to be an isolated, sedentary experience in front of a dark computer screen," said Dr. Eric S. Emch, a Technology Integration Specialist for Wetzel County who introduced Unruly Splats to the district. "We're especially excited about how teachers can use the Splats to bring play and STEAM into any subject."
Unruly Splats are designed to help schools fulfill a wide range of high priority learning objectives including:
Cross-curricular coding: A Gallup study found that 9 in 10 parents want their kids to learn computer science in school. Unruly Splats allow teachers to incorporate coding into any subject, including PE, general education, science, and even music!
Recess-like play combined with STEAM: The games kids play with Unruly Splats encourage physical movement, helping to combat a decades long drop in active-play for children exacerbated by the pandemic.
Collaborative games that connect students virtually and in-person: A cloud-based app allows kids and teachers to code and play games with Unruly Splats, no matter the setting: in-school, virtual, or hybrid.
Unruly Splats school memberships come with Unruly Splats, unlimited seats in the accompanying coding app for teachers and students, resources and lesson plans developed by curriculum experts, and ongoing professional development opportunities to ensure teachers are empowered to incorporate STEAM into their classrooms.
"Kids start to form identities around STEAM at a very early age, so it's critical that we introduce it to them in school in a way that's engaging," said Bryanne Leeming, CEO and founder of Unruly Studios, the creator of Unruly Splats. "We're excited to partner with Wetzel County Schools to break down stereotypes around coding and encourage more kids to feel comfortable using technology to be creative and have fun."
Unruly Studios is the creator of Unruly Splats, the first STEM learning tool that combines coding with active-play. Students build their own games with programmable floor buttons that they can code to light up, make sounds, and collect points when stomped on. Unruly Studios' vision is to create an electronic playground that makes learning more playful, collaborative, and inclusive. The team is made up of experts in cognitive science, toy manufacturing, education, and technology who bring broad industry experience from Scratch, Hasbro, Mattel, Nickelodeon, iRobot, Disney, and MIT Media Lab.