Ronan Robotics Shines On!

In May, I posted this announcement about the Ronan (Montana) High School SmartLab robotics team winning the world championships.

Now we learn that Ronan has received an invitation to exhibit their winning design in the Smithsonian Institution! Wow!!!  The robot will be featured in an interactive exhibit this spring called Math Alive.

This great news comes as the Ronan robotics grows by leaps and bounds. The Ronan robotics program has become so popular that SmartLab facilitator Jesse Gray has had to split the group into two teams. And there’s this – Montana State University is looking to enroll students from the Ronan SmartLab in their robotics degree program!

Who knew Ronan would become such a hub for robotic engineering?

And for the almost all of you who’ve never heard of Ronan Montana, Google Maps to the rescue!

Digital Natives

I hope you’ll forgive my occasional rant, but I had to share and comment on this YouTube video I stumbled upon. It speaks volumes about today’s learners.



And here’s another video of the same child two-years later with an iPad. Understand that Nolan is not at all a unique case. Next time you’re on YouTube try searching any combination of the words “iPhone”, “iPad”, “baby”, “toddler”, “one-year old”, “two-year old”, etc., and you’ll see what I mean.  

In many schools, “educational technology” is viewed as tools we put in the hands of teachers. Teaching technology is important and certainly belongs in the 21st century classroom, but we shouldn’t confuse it with learning technology. 21st century learning requires that technology be placed in the hands of students. We will not be able to convince children like Nolan that “disconnected” learning has any relevance to the world as he sees it.

Rant over.

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