Let’s get moving: the benefits of learning actively
Technology doesn’t equal a lack of physical activity. Don’t believe us? Take a look at how we encourage movement with Robo Wunderkind, and how this benefits our pupils.
Parents and educators alike are concerned—and justly so—about the lack of physical activity children experience these days. Being less physically active leads to a plethora of civilizational challenges, from health issues to psychological discomfort. However, unjustly so, technology is often blamed for the increase of this phenomenon. When, in fact, technology can encourage healthy habits by supporting a physically active form of learning.
According to research on the subject, participating in physical activity leads to an increase in academic performance in primary age children. Even as little as 20 minutes of physical activity a day increases children’s academic results, improves their focus, intake of information, and relieves the teachers of managerial work with their pupils. If children keep up this activity over a period of a few months, even their memory improves.
That much is not surprising. But while teachers might find it difficult to squeeze in an extra 20 minutes of exercise during the school day, it’s a lot less challenging to get the kids moving while they’re already in class, learning. So that is precisely what we do.
Robo Wunderkind prides itself in being a tool that is equally physical as much as it is tech-based. While students need our apps to make Robo run as required, they typically spend a lot more time exploring the physical environment of Robo’s adventures. Firstly, they get acquainted with the modular blocks, put them together, pull them apart, test their compatibility and functionality, and then run the countless amount of tests to see if their code worked—repeating the step, until it finally does.
But our lessons also involve a great deal of spatial planning. Where is Robo going to travel to? What obstacles is it going to try to avoid? What friends is it going to make? How can we turn our surroundings into functional props on Robo’s mission? Plus, all these tasks typically involve cooperation with other students, which means even more physical activity paired with cooperative learning.
As a result, children playing and learning with Robo Wunderkind end up moving around class (or the outdoors), arranging physical objects around them, constructing Robo’s world, and experiencing the adventure along with their Robo Wunderkind kit. They can rarely be confined to a desk, or even one spot. When the class plays with Robo, it turns abuzz with activity—both physical and intellectual, into a melting pot of creative ideas, a priceless spectacle of childish imagination and ingenuity.
But under the surface, as children move about, even more is happening. Besides their new STEM skills settling it, the physical activity they undergo also stimulates the growth of new neurons, activates their metabolism (bringing benefits to both their mental and physical state), and as their blood flow increases, their ample brains become a beehive of intellectual activity. Physical motion is therefore the perfect companion to intellectual activity — through a loop of positive feedback, it enhances the ability to learn and take in new information at an increased speed.
And that does indeed sound like a dream, doesn’t it?
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