Mendy Hayes is a Technology Integration Specialist at Enid Public Schools - District 57. Every elementary school in the district received Wonder Workshop from a grant. She works with the Early Education Director and other administrators and helps plan two yearly robotics fairs for the district of 8,000 students featuring their STEM solutions.
I am one of two integration specialists for the seventeen schools in the district. Last year, each elementary school was awarded a tote with a Dash, Dot, accessories and an iPad as part of a grant, awarded by Oklahoma Natural Gas (ONG). Teachers can check the totes out and each school uses them in different ways. Some of the schools also have a Dash & Dot in their classrooms and a few schools have after school clubs.
I’m working on a tech playground, where teachers come for professional development. I’m trying to give easy and practical ways to use them that aren’t overwhelming. I want them to know they don’t need to know everything about coding to be able to get started and use the robots. Each teacher will have a station where they will receive a new idea on how to use Dash or Dot. For example, one of the stations will have site words down on the floor. Someone will say one of the site words and then drive the robot to that word.
Our newest project will be for a grant awarded through the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board (OERB), which helps educate Oklahomans on the oil industry. They provide grants to schools and free workshops for teachers. Our grant is for a mobile STEAM lab, that will travel to all our schools. I’ve applied for a few grants and I think the best advice I can give is having a vision and the details of how it’s going to be utilized. The key is to provide as much detail as possible on how they will be used and the number of students impacted. The more, the merrier.
After receiving the ONG grant last year, we decided to host an event to showcase Dash & Dot, along with other STEM offerings. Over 500 people attended, so it was very exciting. This year, we are hosting our second annual robotics fair. It is divided into two events, the first of which focuses on early education PreK-2nd grades and the second event focuses on grades 3-5. Each school will have a booth to showcase their robots to parents, community members and the board. We also include a Technology Playground Area that middle students help run with various stations showcasing robotics. Attendees sign in and we award prizes to the highest attending schools.