NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--littleBits, the technology startup that is empowering everyone to create inventions, large and small, with its easy-to-use platform of electronic building blocks, is leading the charge to bring STEAM education and invention-based learning to students everywhere with its newest suite of products designed for educators. The new littleBits STEAM products, aligned with NSTA Next Generation Science Standards and developed with a committee of “power” educators, are meant to help both young boys and girls get excited about invention, feel confident in their ability to problem-solve, and develop skills that are essential to the jobs of today as well as those of tomorrow.
Following its debut at SXSWedu in March, the littleBits STEAM Student Set is now available for purchase online at littlebits.com and in Barnes & Noble stores across the country. The littleBits STEAM Student Set engages a student’s natural love of play and curiosity through invention-based learning. The toolbox supports learners in grades 3-8 with 19 Bits--littleBits’ electronic building blocks--plus 38 accessories, a 72-page Student Invention Guide and a comprehensive littleBits Teacher’s Guide with detailed companion lessons, implementation strategies, curricular connections and more.
Today littleBits also launches littleBits STEAM PD, a hands-on professional development course that equips educators with all of the skills they need to bring littleBits and STEAM teaching to the classroom. littleBits STEAM PD is an online course for teachers and administrators looking for instruction on how to add fun and hands-on STEAM learning to their 3rd through 8th grade curriculum. Experienced STEAM educators and newbies alike walk away with the tools to create lessons that are customized for their students and engage them in collaboration and problem-solving. The self-paced, interactive course encourages self-reflection with a customized action plan for every participant. Educators receive a PDU (Professional Development Unit) certificate upon completion.
“[STEAM] is an area where there aren’t many experts out there who can help us...this [professional development] course gave the teachers more ideas and more confidence in using littleBits,” said Sergio Anaya, Curriculum Supervisor for the Colonial School District in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.
In response to growing demand from school and district-wide littleBits programs, littleBits has introduced littleBits STEAM Education Class Packs, collections of STEAM Student Sets that support groups of 16, 24 and 32 learners in grades 3-8. littleBits STEAM Education Class Packs include tackle boxes for easy storage as well as comprehensive student and teacher guides to provide an ideal invention-based learning tool for the classroom, both for self-guided instruction and group collaboration.
“It is evident that littleBits has listened to educators and our ever-pressing need for clear instructions,” said Colleen Graves, a middle school teacher and librarian. “I love the last section of the [Student Invention Guide] manual... There are four open challenges encouraging students to “Hack Your Classroom,” “Invent for Good,” invent a Rube Goldberg-like contraption, and lastly, a “Hack Your Habits” challenge. I’m hoping to institute the “Invent for Good” challenge at my own library and see if my own students can “invent a product to make a difference in someone else’s life.”
As announced this spring, the largest school district in the country, the New York City Department of Education, will be using the littleBits STEAM Student Set as one of the learning tools for 2,100 students in grades 2-5 in its Summer in the City STEM enrichment program.
littleBits STEAM Student Set
Release: April 2016
MSRP: $299.95, 5% Discount for Educators
Available: Online at littleBits.com, in-store exclusively at Barnes & Noble and for educational institutions via CDW•G
littleBits STEAM Education Class Packs
Collections of STEAM Student Sets with tackle boxes for easy storage that support groups of 16, 24 and 32 learners in grades 3-8. Customized solutions are available for larger classroom sizes. Call (917) 464-4577 to speak to a littleBits education expert.
Release: April 2016
Available: littleBits.com, CDW•G
For 16 Students (includes 4 littleBits STEAM Student Sets and 1 Tackle
MSRP: $1,199.95, 5% Discount for Educators
For 24 Students (includes 6 littleBits STEAM Student Sets and 2 Tackle
MSRP: $1,779.95, 5% Discount for Educators
For 32 Students (includes 8 littleBits STEAM Student Sets and 3 Tackle
MSRP: $2,349.95, 5% Discount for Educators
littleBits STEAM PD
A 6-hour online professional development course that supports teachers integrating STEAM into their classrooms, providing a PDU certificate upon completion
MSRP: $199.95, 5% Discount for Educators
Interested in becoming a littleBits reseller? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
littleBits is the New York-based hardware startup that is on a mission to Democratize Hardware by empowering everyone—of any gender, age or technical background—to Create Inventions, large and small, with its innovative platform of easy-to-use Electronic Building Blocks. The company’s innovative building blocks snap together with magnets to allow anyone to build, invent, and prototype with electronics independent of age, gender and technical background. From classrooms to homes, littleBits is driving excitement for invention-based learning through design challenges and in-classroom curriculum. The company is also dedicated to successfully bridging the gender gap with its gender-neutral platform, inspiring young girls and young boys to unleash their creativity and embrace STEAM (Science, Technology, Art and Mathematics) through the invention cycle. littleBits is being used by more than 12,000 educators across the world as an engaging tool for making STEAM more accessible to all students and preparing them for the jobs that haven’t been invented yet.
The company was founded in 2011 by MIT graduate, TED Senior Fellow and cofounder of the Open Hardware Summit, Ayah Bdeir, and has grown to be a global leader in hardware. Bdeir was named one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business, one of one of Inc.’s “35 Under 35” and "Entrepreneurs to Watch," one of Entrepreneur's "10 Leaders to Watch," one of Popular Mechanics’ “25 Makers Who Are Reinventing the American Dream,” and one of MIT Technology Review’s 35 Innovators Under 35. The littleBits platform includes more than 9 kits and 67 interoperable modules with millions of products sold to over 150 countries around the world. The littleBits invention app takes inventing to new levels with thousands of additional invention ideas and challenges. The company was named in CNN’s “Top 10 Startups to Watch”, one of the CNBC Next List, and has been profiled by the BBC, Bloomberg, CNBC, Wired, Popular Mechanics. To learn more, visit littleBits.com.
While the STEM movement—a call to elevate the studies of science, technology, engineering and mathematics as a national priority—began to take shape in 2006, a separate push to add the arts to that equation, transforming STEM to STEAM, followed soon after. By integrating art and design with STEM subjects, schools are working to strengthen students’ abilities to be creative and flexible problem-solvers, to explore different ideas, to recognize failures as opportunities for discovery and to communicate well with others. With STEAM projects, students learn by inventing, creating and designing—and understanding the true meaning of human-centered design.