As Education Goes Online, One Elementary School Adapts
Cindy Gonzalez’s technology classes for kids were already futuristic, so going online was easier than for most subjects. It was really a matter of learning new skill sets, says Gonzalez, who is teaching robotics for kids from Kindergarten to 3rd grade at Gulliver Prepatory School’s Marian C. Krutulis PK – 8 campus.
Before the pandemic sent everyone home, for example, the kids worked with robots hands-on. Now they have to program their robots remotely – and the result may be better programming skills. “With a DASH simulator robot, they can code on their computers and then see them move around,” says Gonzalez, who is part of an early test group for the DASH program. “Back at school, they could only code when I was there. Now they are able to continue coding in their own time.” For some students, she says, it’s a boon. “They have time to explore deeper into the things they are interested in… And, we are finding that some of the shy kids are thriving in this atmosphere. In the classroom they were feeling a little timid.”
Gonzalez also uses her Zoom class time to teach other hands-on things, like how to build a catapult with popsicle sticks, or how to make and edit videos with their laptops. But the robots are the stars. “We had second graders program them to dance to the theme from Star Wars with each other… Our campus may be closed but the learning has continued.”