Ross Hartley Teaches Collaboration Through Robotics!
“Tynker allows students to take control of their education through FUN activities!” -Ross Hartley
|Pickerington Local School District|
In Ross Hartley’s Automation and Robotics class at Ridgeview STEM Junior High in Ohio, you’ll see students working together in groups to build robots. But these students aren’t just working together—they’re collaborating as part of a specific 3-part strategy Ross incorporates into his classes: purposeful grouping, incorporating student choice, and using students in a teacher’s role to help other students. Ross is not only a deliberate educator but also a high-achieving athlete and coach—he’s currently the head coach for the USA Triathlon team. Blue Ribbon Educator Ross Hartley strives for excellence in everything he does, and we’re so excited that he’s part of our Tynker educator community!
Initially, Ross was hesitant about teaching a robotics class; after all, at the time he was asked to take on the class, he was a sixth-grade math and science teacher and didn’t have a background in engineering or robotics. Since taking on this assignment, however, he’s discovered that he loves teaching robotics. He’s excited about using robotics classes as an opportunity to promote positive approaches to overcoming challenges, such as simplifying the task, as he discussed in a 2017 talk at TEDxNewAlbany. Through 3 tiers of collaboration, Ross helps his students practice simplifying tasks:
Tier 1: Teacher assigns challenge, steps to solve the challenge, and group roles
Tier 2: Teacher assigns challenge, students identify the steps to solve the challenge and assign roles to each group
Tier 3: Students assign a challenge to the class, identify the steps, and assign group roles
Of this third tier, Ross says, “This is service learning—students are identifying problems in their communities and then designing and creating a solution.” Why has Ross put so much thought into designing effective systems for collaboration among his students? “Being able to work well with others to accomplish a shared goal is a skill that will not only help students in their educational career but for the rest of their lives.” In this way, students learn life lessons, such as how to collaborate, through robotics and the coding skills used to program robots. These coding skills include using programs like Tynker, which Ross says further empowers and engages students: “I choose Tynker because of their commitment to engage students through interactive interest-based activities.”
Thanks for being part of the Tynker Educator community, Ross! We’re excited to see how you’ll continue to teach students vital skills like collaboration through robotics and coding.
Read our previous post about Tynker Blue Ribbon Educator Laura Smith, who ignites student learning through technology!