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Unruly Studios Brought Cross-Curricular Learning to the FETC

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The Unruly Team had a blast at the annual Future of Education Technology Conference this year. FETC was virtual this year and ran from January 26-29. This year’s conference events and speakers provided an impactful experience for innovators, problem solvers, and life-long learners who were looking for inspiration and resources that fit into this “new normal” world. The keynote speakers and presenters empowered their audiences by praising educators for their continued resiliency and emphasized that equity and access are fundamental issues. 

“When confronted with something messy, don’t go for the quick solution; instead, seek every piece of information, try to understand the situation from every angle, and lead toward the best solution,” said Jill Siler (Keynote Speaker and Superintendent at Gunter ISD)

Unruly Studios brought the Unruliness at our virtual booth and presentation about tips on cross-curricular learning involving coding with our special guest and winner of the Unruliest Techie Award, Dr. Cory Gleasman. 

Unruly Studios Virtual Booth

During the FETC educational learning lab, Cory Gleasman, Assistant Professor of Computer Science Education at Tennessee Tech University, and Lauren Watkins, Marketing Head at Unruly, showed tips and examples of how to put cross-curricular learning into action by incorporating coding and technology across K-8 classes. Professor Gleasman discussed how he uses active play as an entry-point to incorporating cross-curricular learning with computer science whether students are virtual or in-person. 

3 Tips on Cross-Curricular Learning with Coding:

1. Scaffold your lessons to be flexible

2. Promote complex connections 

3. Combine active learning & play  

Now let’s dive deeper into these tips!

1. Scaffold your lessons to be flexible

Coding is practical and not as complex as some beginners initially think. Especially if you utilize technology for hybrid or virtual learning. Start introducing coding to your students using the technology you already have available. This way it does not seem like just another thing they have to do but a seamless transition to learning something new without even realizing it. By staging the levels of learning, students go at their own pace and move to the next level when they are ready. 

Dr. Gleasman says, “Use technology as something for cognition instead of something more required for students.” 

2. Promote complex connections 

Complex connections are a deeper understanding of how something works and can help prevent students from memorizing but rather fully comprehending a new skill by seeing how the process fully works. Any example Cory uses is the place value house. He shows the visual of the ones place reaching nine and explains how the next value-added will result in the ones place going to zero and the ten’s place value equalling one.

Place Value House

Cross-curricular learning can enable complex connections through interactions between coding concepts and core content studies like math, social studies, science, and even english that lead to these conceptual teaching opportunities. 

“Enable the learner to construct their own knowledge and not just give the knowledge,” Dr. Gleasman said. 

3. Combine active learning & play

Cory goes over the cognitive side and physical side of active learning with cross-curricular learning. Cognitive active learning is when a student is in taking charge and leading their own learning, making complex connections, and problem-solving. Where the physical side adds in the social play and movement to the student’s day of learning. Cory mentions that Splats are a great cross-curricular learning tool that has both cognitive and physical active learning aspects because students can use the Splats app to use block coding to create games that involve movement!

Dr. Gleasman says, “What I love about Unruly Splats is that it engages students in a playful active environment while also promoting the active cognition piece.” 

Check out the 3 tips for cross-curricular learning with coding more in-depth in the presentation recording! 

FETC was a great way to start talking about new trending topics like cross-curricular learning and introducing ways educators could start implementing these strategies in their classrooms. It was even better to still be able to connect with thought leaders in real-time through social media. The energy was contagious on Twitter and we had a blast connecting with other educators and leaders who were excited to share their thoughts with us (and of course we had to add our Unruly touch). 

FETC Tweet
#FETC Tweet

The Unruly Team always enjoys connecting with thought leaders and educators and learning from the experiences and stories they share at events like the FETC. If you have any questions about our presentation on cross-curricular learning or want to share your personal experience at the FETC click the link below. We would love to chat!

P.S. If you are looking for some more tips on cross-curricular learning check out this webinar with STEM Coach Christine Danhoff on how she incorporates coding into her elementary school classes. recording with another fellow Unruly Educator! 

Unruly Studios makers of Unruly Splats, programmable, stompable floor tiles that help kids learn fundamental coding skills through recess-style play. Best for elementary and middle school students from PE to science or coding class, a great addition to the classroom for active STEM coding and play!

Learn more about Unruly Splats: https://www.unrulysplats.com/
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