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In Summit Reflections, educators review tools that they have seen at an EdSurge Tech for Schools Summit. Summit Reflections can only be completed onsite at the event; reviewers are incentivized to leave reviews.
Counselor, School Type: Middle School, Low Income Population
Sep 10, 2016

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I am thinking about collaborating this with a teacher and perhaps to go from there on to expand on the curriculum on how to reach out to students on the usage of STEM.

Strengths: Very catchy. very hands on. I think, as long as the individual or the instructor gets the introduction of the project/product, then the rest goes well.

Suggestions for Improvement: perhaps more information on the warranty. as a very low-income school, affordability is a concern for my site. is there a way to do a model school and make the situation a win-win situation as a promotion for the product and getting free or very low cost for the students.

Verdict: This product is kid friendly and would work well with middle schoolers. and it;s great getting to kids early and making lessons more hands on versus all lectures and no actual practice.

Susan, Teacher Librarian. School Type: Elementary School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population
Sep 10, 2016

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I would use this with fourth and fifth graders when they come to the library to tie in with the Hour of Code.
I would like to get my 4/5 teachers involved in using it further in their classroom.
I could see a parent night where they come and use it with their students. Also, has a high potential for an after-school club.

Strengths: Exciting, immediate results

Suggestions for Improvement: Show me more on actual lessons that don't require so many external parts. Would have like to peruse the lessons they have, will look on my own time later.
Remember, we use Chrome Books so have it ready asap please!

Verdict: It's exciting to build something that works so quickly. You can see the cause and effect right away which would excite the kids as well.

Jaylen, Consultant. School Type: Elementary School, Middle School, High School, Higher Education
Sep 10, 2016

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I best see this product being utilized to scratch the surface on programming and showing students the practical use of programming. This is hands on and practical education on programming hardware.

Strengths: The simplicity of the product with the user interface allows for usage by those as young as kindergarteners to those in College.

Suggestions for Improvement: I would like to see established courses or pipelines that introduce students to programming but educate them along the way to potentially end up with a fluency in java or a similar language.

Verdict: This program is necessary to introduce students to engineering and programming hardware.

English Teacher, School Type: Middle School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population, 1:1 Devices
Sep 10, 2016

full starfull starfull starfull starfull star Advocate

Usage: I would use it in my computer class to teach programming.

Strengths: This product seems very easy to use and does not look complicated visually. Everything is laid out in a easy to see/use setting.

Suggestions for Improvement: The model could potentially be more "cool" looking for aesthetically pleasing in some way for older students so they don't think its only for younger students.

Verdict: I would recommend it because it is a great, interactive way for students to learn programming by create moving robots. Students would see the immediate effects of the programming and get instant gratification.

Melissa, Teacher. School Type: Elementary School, High ELL Population
Sep 10, 2016

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: I would use this program and the accompanying tools to assist my students in understanding how we can correlate programming to solid objects that they are interacting with. I think that it is of great use when introducing coding to students, and helping them to see real life applications. I think that it would really interest my students, and help them to feel like STEM is completely applicable in their daily life. It would help to prepare them for the world that they will live in in the future, rather than the past like many curricula still do.

Strengths: I would use this program and the accompanying tools to assist my students in understanding how we can correlate programming to solid objects that they are interacting with. I think that it is of great use when introducing coding to students, and helping them to see real life applications. I think that it would really interest my students, and help them to feel like STEM is completely applicable in their daily life. It would help to prepare them for the world that they will live in in the future, rather than the past like many curricula still do.

Suggestions for Improvement: The biggest issue that I have with this product is the outrageous price. I can't imagine too many schools buying a whole class set. $4,000 for a class set of 25 is not a cost that I am willing to pay, nor would my principal pay it. You wouldn't be able to reuse it, because it seems like something that could be used to teach only 1 lesson. Students may easily get bored if you keep trying to have them do the same thing with the same tools over and over again. Additionally, 25 is not a class set for many classes. While my primary class has 24 students, the intermediate classrooms at my school have up to 30 students in a classroom. It would also be great to make it more visually appealing to students.

Verdict: I would use this program and the accompanying tools to assist my students in understanding how we can correlate programming to solid objects that they are interacting with. I think that it is of great use when introducing coding to students, and helping them to see real life applications. I think that it would really interest my students, and help them to feel like STEM is completely applicable in their daily life. It would help to prepare them for the world that they will live in in the future, rather than the past like many curricula still do.

Tech Integration Specialist, School Type: Elementary School, Middle School
Sep 10, 2016

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: I would use it as a project for various subject areas in the middle schools or in a self contained elementary classroom.

Strengths: This product has so many layers that it would appeal to many different teachers and students. The company provides a booklet with some examples of where to get started, as well as offering a place to view and share other examples. Also, adding the social media component keeps the product relevant. The long battery life is plus.

Suggestions for Improvement: I know that there are written instructions in both the booklet and on the app, but I'm wondering if there are short tutorial clips. Also, can the actual product be customized? For example, can the parts be changed out to different colors and/or sizes. It would be great if it was more affordable too.

Verdict: I would definitely recommend it because our school has started on the NGSS standards. Also, many classes have done Hour of Code and want more coding projects and activities. The teachers are aware of robotics, but have for the most part not experienced it for themselves.

Tech Integration Specialist, School Type: Elementary School, Middle School
Sep 10, 2016

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: I would use it as a project for various subject areas in the middle schools or in a self contained elementary classroom.

Strengths: This product has so many layers that it would appeal to many different teachers and students. The company provides a booklet with some examples of where to get started, as well as offering a place to view and share other examples. Also, adding the social media component keeps the product relevant. The long battery life is plus.

Suggestions for Improvement: I know that there are written instructions in both the booklet and on the app, but I'm wondering if there are short tutorial clips. Also, can the actual product be customized? For example, can the parts be changed out to different colors and/or sizes. It would be great if it was more affordable too.

Verdict: I would definitely recommend it because our school has started on the NGSS standards. Also, many classes have done Hour of Code and want more coding projects and activities. The teachers are aware of robotics, but have for the most part not experienced it for themselves.

Technology Integration Specialist, School Type: Elementary School, Middle School
Sep 10, 2016

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: I would use SAM labs to provide students with hands-on application and exploration of science concepts.

Strengths: This product provides a visually appealing hands-on supplement to science curriculum. It also provides an archive of projects done by others in the community, so that teachers and students can see what work is being done by others.

Suggestions for Improvement: 1) Reduced cost. The products are pricey. I wonder if there are opportunities to apply as a Title I school to receive kits at a reduced cost.
2) Lesson plans. Ready-made, step-by-step lesson plans or suggestions would be very helpful for teachers who are eager to get this into the hands of their students but may need guidance as to where to start.
3) Age-based kits to target different age groups/grade levels/standards.

Verdict: The SAM labs products are beautiful. The interface is clean and visually appealing. It is clear that a lot of efforts have been dedicated to the development of a product that looks great as well as one that is user-friendly.

Tsa, School Type: Elementary School
Sep 10, 2016

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: I would use it to teach coding and engineering to my students and parents.

Strengths: It is easy to use and get started right away. It solves the problem of making the iOT easier to access. It also makes it easier for younger students to use it.

Suggestions for Improvement: I wish the price was a little cheaper more like $20 for a set of three. I would like for the pieces to snap into the slot a little better. It might be hard for little hands to push the pieces in.

Verdict: It is at a okay price point and they have kits. It is easy for little hands to handle and they have a easy web based interface.

Teacher, School Type: Elementary School
Sep 10, 2016

full starfull starfull starno starno star Neutral

Usage: I would use it with my son first just to see what he has to go through. Still don't know how to introduce it to my class yet.

Strengths: I think it's quite rewarding for kids to program and create something they can take ownership and that can move.

Suggestions for Improvement: Provide not just the basic blocks but to throw in some necessary materials that allow them to create something without requiring adults to gather stuff for them (at least to start with).

Verdict: I think teaching our students to code at an early age is important but I don't feel ready to introduce it to my class yet.

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