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Liz Ludden – EYFS Lead, Dukes and Duchesses Nursery, UK, trialled the Glow and Go Bot in her EY setting and told us what she thought:
The arrival of the Glow and Go Bot was an event in itself as it arrived beautifully packaged and protected which prompted an Instagram worthy “unboxing” which the children loved.
GG Bot as the children quickly called him instantly caught the attention of the preschool children who were drawn in by the detail and readily made predictions about what it might do.
In comparison to other programmable resources the size and design of Glow and Go Bot made it easier to handle and navigate than others we have used in the past. There has been a gap in the market for programable resources for babies and young children which goes beyond cause and effect. However, the different modes available ensured that there was scope for consolidation and challenge in children’s learning.
The younger children enjoyed the music and tracking the colours, while the older children used it in a more systematic way, quickly keying into its uses and possibilities.
The impact on learning and the work of the teacher in the classroom:
Although as a programmable resource the Glow and Go Bot lends itself to developing an awareness of technology in its simplest form, the team found that the Glow and Go Bot found that it supported the teaching of science, technology, engineering, art and maths (STEAM) in a unique way.
Science – The team noticed and were able to nurture a scientific approach to the use of the Glow and Go Bot the children were observed to investigate, watch , test, predict, evaluate and gather evidence.
Technology – Staff observed that the children negotiated with each other and with the team developing real solutions to real problems getting the Bot in and out of spaces, and had the skills to control change in the Bot. The literal buttons on the Bot gave children the opportunity to control beyond cause and effect, although they also enjoyed the flashing lights and music.
Engineering – We noticed that the older children were able to begin to plan and design the environment around G&G Bot. They were able to make predictions and find solutions to problems around shape and space to manoeuvre the Bot around and through a given space, using blocks and tunnels and different surfaces.
Art – We observed the children thinking creatively and critically adding objects to their play and taking Glow and Go Bot on an imagined journey , stimulating the use of language and communication. Children drew on past experiences using clay, joining materials and mark making tools to make roads, maps and environmental furniture.
Maths – we noticed that the Bot stimulated more than counting and the use of the buttons to control Glow and Go Bot, children used positional and mathematical language in context predicting and controlling would it go forwards, backwards, left, right, roll, there were opportunities to develop language using examples of twist, rotate, spin, sequence etc.
How the resource enhances everyday learning:
The team found that this was a fun way to engage children in meaningful learning which developed and extended and involved different groups of learners. The team and the children were involved in dialogue involving open ended questions developing sustained shared thinking.
We saw the characteristics of effective learning as children approached the activity with curiosity, energy and enthusiasm.
Creativity becomes more visible when adults try to be more attentive to the cognitive processes of children than to the results, they achieve in various fields of doing and understanding.Loris Malaguzzi
They also developed resilience and collaboration, realising that they were able to work as part of a team with children they would not naturally gravitate to. Some became expert teachers to their peers and younger children which developed confidence.
Value for money and sustainability within a nursery setting:
It is important for a resource to be able to be used across age ranges and with children with different development needs. Having observed the resource being used across the age phases it is clear that it is a resource which stimulates and engages all ages and can easily be developed and extended though its different modes and also through adding additional resources.
Glow and Go Bot also stops automatically when picked up or lifted from the ground which signals to the child that the Bot has stopped, we found that even with the very youngest children this prevented it being dropped or thrown which limits damage to the resource. First impressions are that it is sturdy in design and manufacture yet still tactile and appealing to very young children and the team who all took on a caring role.
Research and future thinking:
Although this is a relatively new resource within the nursery Leuven Scales observations of children’s interests, involvement and emotional wellbeing, whilst using the Glow and Go Bot we have gained further insight into the precise levels of engagement and how we could improve the quality of the resources and the immediate nursery environment. We found engagement and wellbeing to be extremely high in all areas.
We feel that consistent use of the Glow and Go Bot particularly within child initiated and free play will support SSTEW and ECERS evaluations and has already been added to our rapid improvement plan for language and communication.
There are many ways to enhance to use of the resource within the learning environment using different resources, mirrors, tracks, different sources of light, the use of Talking and thinking floor books to plan and recreate stories. The possibilities are limitless.
We also plan to use this to support parental engagement as we begin to welcome our families back into the setting. Our aim of the session is to use the Bot alongside other resources to promote STEAM and an awareness that technology goes beyond a computer or iPad to develop and extend learning.