littleBits Announces littleBits Education to Empower 21st-Century Learning in K-20 Institutions, Launches First 1:1 Program
littleBits Education Offers Products Across Spectrum to Help Schools Integrate STEM/STEAM, and Marymount School of New York Marks First 1:1 Integration
NEW YORK--littleBits Electronics, Inc., the startup that empowers 21st-century teaching and learning with its easy-to-use platform of electronic building blocks, today announces littleBits Education, a line of products for education that spans the spectrum of integration from a single teacher engaging in online professional development to a district-wide 1:1 program. This fall, Marymount School of New York is the first to launch a 1:1 program, providing students with their own portable invention Kits.
For the past few years, littleBits' growth in education has been organic, leading to adoption by 9,200 educators in 2,200 schools, 400 universities, and 240 libraries and makerspaces in 60 countries. Today's announcement marks a larger commitment by littleBits to create solutions for STEM/STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) teaching and learning, from educators just getting started to schools and districts interested in ramping up their students' technology literacy and 21st-century skills. As the call to engage all students in STEM/STEAM grows, including by President Obama with a $240-million STEM commitment last March and a White House Maker Faire in June, educational institutions are looking for innovative solutions to scale their efforts.
"We have loved watching educators all over the world adopt littleBits and hear how incredibly engaged their students get about learning STEM/STEAM when they bring inventing and making into the classroom," said Ayah Bdeir, CEO and founder of littleBits and MIT Media Lab grad and TED Senior Fellow. "We launched littleBits Education because we wanted to make it easy for educational institutions everywhere to find a way to bring more 21st-century learning to their students, whether they are just getting started or wanting to take it to the next level."
littleBits Education has released four new education programs designed in collaboration with educators and based on how the company has observed schools, districts and post-secondary institutions assembling littleBits products, as well as a strong demand for professional development:
littleBits STEAM PD, a stand-alone professional development offering, crafted by educators for educators. This online course helps teachers learn about how to use littleBits to integrate STEAM instruction in grades 2-8 through an interactive, hands-on course. Includes littleBits Kit.
littleBits Invention Lab, a bundle specifically for makerspaces in libraries and other learning environments. Supports up to 72 students.
littleBits Classroom Integration, for schools or districts that want to start integrating invention and STEAM into the curriculum in at least five classrooms. Supports up to 160 students, or 32 students per classroom, and also provides a makerspace for the whole school to use.
littleBits 1:1, a bundle that provides every student with their own mobile makerspace to use across subjects, both in and outside school.
The programs can be customized based on local needs. To learn more about what each program includes, visit our education website.
This school year, Marymount School of New York, an independent girls school based in Manhattan, will be the first to use littleBits' 1:1 portable invention Kits as "mobile makerspaces." This initiative provides all students in grades three through five with their own customized littleBits Kits that they can carry from school to home. From math to language arts, social studies and science, students will use the littleBits Kits and Invention Cycle to create, remix, and share their inventions.
"Marymount is thrilled to pilot the 1:1 program with littleBits to expand our culture of innovation to all of our Lower Middle School students," said Concepcion Alvar, Headmistress of Marymount School of New York. "Teachers will integrate littleBits as a learning tool throughout the curriculum, providing a gateway to developing technology fluency through explorations in circuitry, logic, and programming. Giving every girl her own mobile makerspace of littleBits offers them opportunity for rapid prototyping their innovations and inventions. We're excited to see what the girls will dream up."
Other recent larger-scale deployments include Penn State and Killeen Independent School District in Texas, both of which have implemented versions of the littleBits Invention Lab program. Penn State has dedicated a space to littleBits in its Invention Studio, where any faculty member or student can invent something. The Invention Studio will be part of Penn State's exploration lab, housed in the Pattee-Paterno Library, which aims to bring the Maker Movement to faculty and students in every area of study. The studio will be unveiled at the university's "Make It" event in October, as part of the school's larger mission to encourage invention and innovation. Killeen Independent School District is the first in the U.S. to incorporate littleBits into a district-wide library makerspace program, which will be used by all K-6 students across the district's 32 elementary schools. With littleBits in every elementary school library, hands-on STEAM learning will be a regular component of the district's curriculum.
littleBits is the New York-based hardware startup that is on a mission to democratize hardware by empowering everyone to create inventions, large and small, with a platform of easy-to-use electronic building blocks. The littleBits platform of electronic building blocks is comprised of color-coded pieces for specific functions (like motion, lights, sound, sensors, internet connectivity) that snap together to make larger circuits. With an ever-expanding library of littleBits, educators and students can engage in increasingly complex projects as their technology literacy, critical thinking and creative confidence grows — perfect for STEM/STEAM learning in classrooms at all levels. The company was founded in 2011 by MIT graduate, TED Senior Fellow and cofounder of the Open Hardware Summit, Ayah Bdeir, and has grown to be a global leader in hardware. The littleBits platform includes more than seven kits and 67 interoperable modules with millions of products sold in more than 100 countries around the world. littleBits also recently launched the Global Chapters Program and has expanded its network into more than 100 countries, as well as with 9,000+ educators in 2,200 schools, 400 universities, and 240 libraries and makerspaces. To learn more, visit littleBits.cc.