WINCHESTER, Va., June 16, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Unruly Studios today announced a partnership with Winchester Public Schools to integrate computer science and active play throughout the school day. Teachers at John Kerr Elementary and Garland Quarles Elementary have started to use Unruly Splats, programmable floor buttons that students can code to light up, make sounds, and collect points to play games like relay races, four corners, or any game of their own making.
"We know that kids learn best when they're given time for play, which is why we do four 15 minute recesses every day," said Jenny Ramsey, a computer science integration coach at Garland Quarles Elementary, where PE teachers are the first to incorporate Unruly Splats into their classes. "With Unruly Splats, we can combine two of our core learning priorities: active play and STEM education."
Winchester is one of ten public school districts in the country to receive an Education Innovation and Research Early-Phase grant from the U.S. Department of Education. This $4 million grant supports Garland Quarles Elementary and John Kerr Elementary through the district's METRICs program, an immersive approach to computer science education focused on integration across the curriculum to boost traditionally underrepresented, high-need student achievement.
"As Virginia and other states plan to add computer science to state testing requirements, it's critical that we innovate computer science education and introduce it at earlier ages," said Jennifer LaBombard-Daniels, PhD, a METRICS grant specialist for Winchester Public Schools. "Unruly Splats are a way to integrate computer science into subjects like math and language arts in a way that's fun and accessible for both students and teachers."
Unruly Splats help schools fulfill a 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 STEM: 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.
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 STEM into their classrooms.
"We designed Unruly Splats to emulate what it's really like working with a team to build a new product. Except the product is active games they know and love," said Bryanne Leeming, CEO and founder of Unruly Studios. "Computer science education isn't just about preparing the next generation of coders—it's about teaching critical skills like problem solving, collaboration, and resiliency."
About Unruly Studios 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.