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Robots and virtual reality bring technology to life at school

Kidsday reporters Martin John Dornagon, left, and Adam

Kidsday reporters Martin John Dornagon, left, and Adam Ellin with teacher Stephen Quinn, who leads the technology program at Canaan Elementary School in Patchogue. Photo Credit: Jennifer Hempfling

Fourth- and fifth-graders in our school district have the wonderful opportunity to work with Mr. Stephen Quinn in the technology program Model Schools. Every class we have with Mr. Quinn is a new experience for us to learn a different technology. We do this once or twice a month.

Our favorite technology to learn was the VEX IQ Kit. It is an actual robot that works with a remote control, and we had so much fun playing with it. We also learned how to turn anything into a controller by using a kit called Makey, Makey. Another time we used Spheros, which are tiny robots that can be controlled by a tablet or phone and be programmed to do what you want.

We do a lot of coding activities online and have also worked with Ozobots, which are robots that recognize color codes to operate. Dash and Dot are other toy robots used for coding. Mr. Quinn has also taken us on virtual field trips with virtual reality goggles. That was really cool! We went to the Grand Canyon!

We have learned many other cool programs to use with writing or studying for a test. Quizizz is a website that is free, and as a class we compete against each other either on random topics or one that our teacher creates to prepare for a test.

We think all schools should be able to have this class. We learn many different and fun ways to use technology, not only in school but at home as well.

Jennifer Hempfling’s fifth-grade class, Canaan Elementary School, Patchogue

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