In a second grade classroom where kids are spread across the room, robots get kids excited about reading and writing.
At Jefferson Elementary School, Bryon Gilliland’s students are hard at work. They are programming a Sphero robot ball to roll, and race through a Rigamajig obstacle course. Others sit at map corners, progamming a robot to make a journey across the map. They are also writing a story about the robot’s travels.
Gilliland explained that the strategy is to get students interested in writing. “They get very excited about the robots,” he said.
Currently, including coding and programming in education is on the rise. Gilliland collaborates with educators working toward the goal of producing skilled workers who can program and code. “Whether they decide one day that they want to be a programmer or whatever they want to do, at least they have a little knowledge in it,” he said.
His approach is to integrate coding activities into a variety of subjects and activities, such as programming robots, creating computer programs or building coding steps in a board game.