Lexden Springs Special School shares its experience with Robo Wunderkind and the benefits in STEAM Education
Lexden Springs Special School caters to pupils with complex learning difficulties as well as those on the autistic spectrum continuum. In small gender-mixed classrooms, the school used Robo Wunderkind kits as part of the ‘Exploration and discovery’ classes. At Lexden Springs, pupils were encouraged to use Robo Wunderkind in tasks which had problem-solving as the key objective. Nicola Paton, a specialized SEN (special education needs) educator, delivers all lessons to her class via a specialized curriculum, while focusing on computing. Hence – STEAM tools were the perfect fit to her daily job. The class mainly relied on Robo Live classes, the real-time coding option, with some exploration going into Robo Code – the more advanced stage for plan-ahead coding. Robo Live was used to navigate areas of the classroom and create obstacle courses to increase the challenge. Nicola said: “I love that my pupils are eager to take all the pieces out of the box and start fitting them together immediately. They are always so enthusiastic. My pupils with autistic spectrum conditions seem particularly engaged and love to use the build visuals.” Nicola used an adaptive version of the Robo Wunderkind teacher’s guide to make the night light out of Robo, and wrote her own plans to support and provide details to her supporting adults. This focused on the building work itself and also on cooperation between pupils as well as their presentation work of the results. Tools like Robo Wunderkind aren’t only great to teach specific STEM-related skills, but also communication, cooperation, presentation, negotiation, and more. This is especially relevant for special-needs children to whom some of these skills do not come naturally.