Innovators - Lana Shea
K-5 | Technology Skills | App & Robot
Lana Shea is the Computer Club Sponsor at the Illinois School for the Deaf. Lana enrolled in her first programming class in 1979 and has been involved in computer science ever since.
At this time, Dash is part of a bigger curriculum, along with other robotics solutions in our Tech Friday program and computer club. I own one Dash personally and then the Parent Teacher School Organization purchased three additional, so we have four. The largest class we have is when PK-K come in. I have twelve at one time. Some classes are as small as four. The average is probably 6.
The computer club had a six-week run with Dash. The computer club is a junior high computer club that takes place during their lunch. Anyone that is in junior high who wants to can be a member. In fact, all the junior high students signed up. The impressive thing is that lunch is their social outlet and they wanted to give up their lunch for this everyday. We originally met Tuesday and Thursday, but once they got into the competition, they wanted to meet everyday.
We set up an obstacle course and we used the xylophone accessory to form a synchronized band. Then, the kids were given a plastic cup to make a basketball hoop and they were challenged to write code to shoot all three balls. The team with the highest percent of successful shots was the winner. I found a cool idea with the snowplow, so I ordered the accessory kit that includes the Bulldozer bar. We’ll be having the kids do some bulldozing with their snowballs.
For our competition, I challenged the students to brainstorm additional accessories. They sketched their designs. The fun began as we got out foamboard, cardboard, duct tape, masking tape, wire, dowels, and containers to create prototypes. Videos captured the prototypes in action. The students got their first taste of PowerPoint, as they created five slides and were allotted one minute to make their case. Three high school students judged the presentations and, in closing, admitted that they were now motivated to design their own accessories. The competition made the front page of the Jacksonville Journal Courier.
I reached out to Wonder Workshop several weeks ago with an interest in 3D printing the winning prototype. I asked if they would be willing to share the .stl file of the head attachment from which we could build upon. Much to my excitement, they came through! This will be one of our future projects.