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'Can Do' Alternative Education with Parallax Products

  • By: Parallax Insider Published: 16 May, 2019 0 comments

Think about it: What steps can you take to create and nurture a “can do” classroom culture while allowing for flexibility and self-pacing? Tina Angell, a California-based educator teaching alternative education, empowers students to define their own learning with the ActivityBot 360° (AB360°). She guides students to further define personalized learning objectives by creating to-do lists and project plans. The ultimate goal is to move the technology course to project-based learning format using the Parallax online tutorials, projects and videos for robotic and programming education.

With a prior career in engineering and product marketing, Mrs. Angell brings her professional experience and practices to further support student engagement through project-based learning. Emily K., one of Mrs. Angell’s students, learned how to work independently and troubleshoot robotic and programming challenges using BlocklyProp and the AB360°. Having experienced assembling and programming the AB360, Emily is now combining these skills to design a 3D-printed, car-like enclosure to accessorize her AB360° using Tinkercad.

Balancing flexibility and personal learning while adhering to state-mandated standards can be a challenge for educators in alternative schools serving students with diverse needs. Placer County Office of Education's Pathways Charter iCARE program challenges “all instructors work to integrate standards and provide real world application to develop relevant learning.” Parallax robotics, electronics, and curriculum prepare students for careers in areas such as electrical engineering, multimedia programming, computer programming and engineering. Atom M., another student of Mrs. Angell, plans on a career in music production or teaching, but he learned that robotics and programming provided skills (such as problem-solving and perseverance) that will help him achieve his career goals. "The top benefit I saw after learning robotics with the AB360 was knowing that I accomplished something of this caliber, which was very rewarding,” attest Atom.

The U.S. Department of Education, in collaboration with American Institutes for Research, argues “a strong STEM education...is culturally responsive, employs problem- and inquiry-based approaches, and engages students in hands-on activities that offer opportunities to interact with STEM professionals.” According to that definition, Mrs. Angell equips students, like Emily and Atom, for 21st-century success. Mrs. Angell adapts Parallax’s robotics, coding and electronic curricula to meet students’ individual needs and inspire deep inquiry through self-directed learning.

Parallax offers a wide range of class packs for the ActivityBot 360°, cyber:bot and Scribbler 3 with opportunities to extend student learning with STEM Sensor Packs and Security Project Class Pack. Build your “can do” classroom with Parallax products and teach students STEM skills for real-world learning!