My vision of Unruly from the beginning has been to have kids learning in a fun, interactive, electronic playground where they can experiment and collaborate with each other while gaining problem-solving skills.This is at odds with what I currently see in classrooms; kids stuck behind a computer screen at a desk, trying to memorize rules and facts rather than really understanding how it is applied in context. This led me on a mission to figure out how to build a STEM tool that would enable kids to engage with coding and problem solving in an active way.
My husband is going into his 11th year teaching. In many ways I started Unruly Studios because of conversations he and I had at the dinner table, discussing the challenges of technology in schools. Now, a few years later, after working with teachers and principals across North America and piloting Unruly Splats with 3000 students, I observed 4 common issues:
Through understanding and seeing firsthand the challenges with STEM in schools, I came up with Unruly Splats. Splats are programmable, super-durable buttons that light up, make sounds, and sense when they are stepped on. By pairing Splats with an iPad or Chromebook, students can create their own active, recess-style games with our block coding language and play them with classmates!
When designing Unruly Splats, I focused on 4 key components, which are part of our core philosophy on active STEM:
1) Promote Hands-on Activity: With Splats, students can create their own games like relay races using our block coding language that tell the Splats to light up, keep score, and make sounds - exposing them to the basics of coding while getting their fitness on!
2) Help Develop Problem Solving Skills Through Open Ended Learning: We understand that students do not all learn in the same way. By giving students the freedom to create their own games or remix existing ones, it allows them to solve problems through an open-ended platform while having tons of fun!
3) Integrate into Existing Classes: We have a library of lesson plans to get teachers started and Splats are already being played with in all kinds of classes like: STEM, PE, Special Education, Maker Spaces, Gifted Learning, ELL,Technology, Libraries, After-School programs, Social Studies, and SEL.
4) Promote Collaboration: Tools and games that allow students to work together in a collaborative way are more engaging and support the development of hard and soft skills. Splats are built for teams of students and teachers.
To focus on partnering with schools rather than just selling to schools, Splats come with an annual subscription plan. We've designed this program to provide customized support and resources for teachers of all experience levels with coding -- from no experience at all to advanced. While some tools go unused in the classroom, we want to make sure that every Splat is stomped on and coded to their full potential and no Splat goes unused! Through this school subscription model, Splats are designed to be a shared resource and there are no limits on student or teacher accounts. This makes it possible for a librarian to use them in one block and a PE teacher in another, all through the same plan!
Here are a few of the offerings that our subscription model includes:
Live chat and phone service for teachers: That’s right! If a teacher wants to call us for ideas or advice before class, they totally can! Our live chat and Unruly phone line allows us to provide real-time service to make sure educators are successful using Splats in the classroom.
Online Learning Portal: This is where we provide updated lesson plans and training videos for educators using Splats. It’s also a space where teachers can interact with each other and share their own lesson plans, Unruly creations, and get tips on how other teachers are integrating Splats in their classroom. This is an especially great resource for teachers who have never coded before.
Lifetime Warranty: Splats are SUPER durable and designed to be stomped on, but if for any reason one needs to be replaced during the subscription period, it’s covered under our lifetime warranty with FREE two-way shipping!
Engagement Data Collection: We send teachers and administrators usage reports at the school level including:
School Sharing: Since Splats come with unlimited student profiles and teacher accounts, Splats can be shared across classrooms and don’t have to just live in one specific class. Students who code in their tech class can play the game that they made in PE. One 12-pack subscription plan can be used by over 100 students a day!