While littleBits certainly helps create enthusiasm around creating and building, Marymount has ensured that the girls have a strong understanding of the purpose of using these electronic learning blocks.
“Our students see littleBits as tools not toys,” says Wang. “They are very fun to create with and you get this immediate satisfaction from being able to invent something, turn something on, or make something move.”
littleBits’ success at Marymount is due in large part to teacher and parent buy-in. From the very beginning of incorporating littleBits, teachers attended meetings with littleBits representatives and visited littleBits headquarters for professional development.
“One thing I noticed in this particular division is that we had teacher buy-in, and you can’t roll out a big initiative like this unless you have teachers who are interested and not afraid of incorporating new technology into their curriculum,” says Wang.
Furthermore, parents were able to see littleBits in action at a curriculum event and grasped an understanding of the technology and how it could help their children learn.
“We’ve been very cognizant of the fact that this is an initiative that has support from all stakeholders in the Marymount ecosystem; teachers, administrators, students and parents, because the students will be taking the kits home,” says Mulcahy. “We did an initial roll out of the program at the Lower Middle School curriculum night, where the parents learned about initiative and had some hands on time with littleBits.”
For other schools looking to implement a similar solution, consider starting small.
“A school doesn’t have to go 1:1 where every student in the grade has their own littleBits kit. You can start with just a few kits in a classroom or have a pro library set for the school, then see if students and teachers gravitate towards using them,” says Wang.
Furthermore, schools should have an understanding of what their learning goals are when looking to incorporate technology such as littleBits.
“We are very much about empowering learning and creating confidence for kids of all ages and backgrounds. It’s a cultural shift that happens in a school when you’re embracing STEM and STEAM and literally breaking down the silos between subjects and departments. Understand what your kids are excited about and what tools are helping to propel learning forward,” says Mulcahy.”Have a clear understanding with the faculty and administration of what the goals are and what you’re looking to do. Having the students and parents involved is also a huge piece of the success.”
With the 1:1 program with littleBits, Marymount hopes to prepare the girls with the tools and skills that will not only help them succeed in school, but also make a difference in the future.
“We encourage our girls to challenge, shape and change the world, and to think about ways these new technologies can help to serve others,” says Wang.