What’s your current role and location?
I am a library media specialist in Rockwall ISD which is in the DFW Metroplex.
How have you used littleBits in the past? What’s worked best?
In the past, I have used littleBits during our library’s Maker Mondays. The students love inventing, and I love challenging the students to take it a step further. One of the best things about littleBits is that they are very easy to start with and students can take control really quickly. I am able to put the kits out and let the students go!
I also currently use the Coding Kit during our Code Cruncher Club meetings. It is, hands down, one of the best kits I have seen for coding. The fact that students can create an invention, code it, and immediately see how those two things go together is amazing!
How do you plan to use littleBits this school year?
This coming school year, I plan to use littleBits to teach students in kindergarten through sixth grade how to code. I have tried a lot of other kits, but after using the littleBits Coding Kit, I think that it will provide a clear path to teaching the kids what coding is, how it is used, and the use of different functions.
I also plan on continuing to use my littleBits Steam Set. I love the Arduino bit and think that it will be a great next step to add on to the students’ coding skills.
What kinds of skills do you think your students learn using littleBits?
When my students use littleBits, the obvious learning that is taking place is how electricity flows and how circuits work. However, there is so much more to it! I see students problem solving, being creative, working as a team, being patient, evaluating their work, and learning how to take chances without fear of failing. The quality of the kit allows for multiple builds and the bit options allow students to branch out and build whatever their brains can imagine.
What do your students enjoy most about littleBits?
My students love how easy littleBits are to interchange. The fact that the bits can quickly and easily be changed, because of the joining magnets, is a big plus. They love mixing the pieces just to see what happens. As an educator, it’s amazing to see students’ curiosity take flight and create something that is a physical invention.
What’s the coolest invention your students have created with littleBits?
My students inventions range from a drawing robot to a musical synth loop. I love every invention and think that my students are amazing, but the coolest thing I have to say, is not that one group has created something amazing. The coolest thing is that students who struggle in class can use littleBits to make at least one invention, even if it is something that seems basic to other people. For that student, one who is used to failing or falling behind, successfully creating a finished product is a big win for him/her. Putting students in a situation where they can “win” and feel successful is more meaningful to me than the most extensive project that one particular group might complete.
What advice would you give to people just starting out with littleBits?
If you are just starting with littleBits, or if you have a kit and you are sitting on it because you are a little nervous, my advice to you is to just go for it! Figure out which bit is the power and how to turn it on. Beyond that, let the kids go to town! When you have a lot of bits in front of you and all you can think about is all the work you have to do, remember, you don’t always have to be the expert. You can be the facilitator, and the opportunity you offer could change a kid’s day, week, or even year.