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South Dakota teachers test drive, take to KUBO

Published April 15, 2019
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Teachers are an essential part of any new classroom technology. If teachers aren’t comfortable with it, at best it doesn’t get used to its full capacity and at worst it ends up on a shelf. Kim Clark, a learning specialist for South Dakota’s Technology & Innovation in Education (TIE) organization, knows the importance of teacher training and professional development when integrating new technology as well as the need for effective elementary coding curriculum.

In April 2018, TIE used a Pitsco Grant to purchase a KUBO Coding Single Set, and Clark immediately set about introducing KUBO to South Dakota teachers. “I was working with K-2 elementary students and looking for a screen-free way to incorporate and teach computer science,” she said. “I wanted something that taught more than just directional commands.” And KUBO fit that bill.

So far, TIE has used KUBO for several teacher-training opportunities, including Tech for Early Learners, Computer Science Overview, a regional roadshow, and three community computer science events that had a total of 88 educators experiencing what KUBO can do. “They loved having the experience to try it out before purchasing.”

Clark said teachers appreciate that KUBO is low-key, yet still a strong coding solution. “Teachers like that it is ramped up from some of the other coding robots for younger students with the loops and functions. It’s quiet, yet very interactive.” She said KUBO also appeals to teachers for the following reasons:

  • Even with free exploration, kids found it easy to put the pieces together with just a few minutes of introduction.
  • Teachers are looking for screen-free robots that complement their curriculum. They like KUBO because students are learning the concepts with the curriculum and then trying out those concepts with hands-on robots.

TIE is currently loaning the KUBO set out to different schools for testing and events such as family code nights, and they plan to showcase it at the TIE Conference in April as well.

“We need to make learning more exciting. And any time you can have a hands-on environment you will get better results. I’ve been in a lot of our schools to see it, and the kids are actually excited to be there. You go into somebody’s math or science class and they might not be as engaged.”

– James Tager, deputy superintendent for Instructional Services, Volusia County, Florida

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