pi-top blog

Success Stories: using Further to differentiate computer science instruction

By Stephanie Calcott on Oct 28, 2022 10:45:42 AM

Topics: STEAM teachers For educators success stories

We love hearing about teachers' experiences with our products, especially when they help bring computer science knowledge to their classrooms.

We recently had a chance to speak with The Highlands School in Quito, Ecuador to learn how they’re using pi-top products to differentiate instruction for their students, allowing them to learn at their own pace and individual skill level. 

Background Information

  • Name of district and school:
    The Highlands School
  • Location of your district:
    Quito, Ecuador 
  • What grade/s does your school teach?
    Preschool to 8th Grade
  • How does your school use pi-top products?
    We use pi-top products to teach STEAM subjects


Tell us more about your experience with using technology for computer science and/or STEAM subjects...

Q. What technology products do you use to teach computer science and STEAM/STEM in your school?

Currently, we are using: LEGO WeDo 2.0, Littlebits coding kit, and pi-top [4] electronics kit with the Further Platform to teach STEAM subjects 

Q. What are some of the challenges you face in teaching technology/computer science?

Some of the challenges of teaching technology is finding a way to create personalized and student-paced lessons that allow a proper class flow where students are engaged while being challenged. 

Another challenge, especially when dealing with large groups of students (20 or more) and working with materials, is keeping control of how students use these materials and addressing individual needs while building or programming. 

I have found through my experience that smaller groups work better as they get less distracted by what others are doing, and a more collaborative environment can be created. 


Q. Did pi-top products help you solve any of the challenges mentioned above? 

Yes, pi-top and, in particular, the Further platform has allowed me to create customized lectures for my students that they can follow at their own pace. 

It is easy for me to keep track of where each group is during the lesson, and since they can upload their work on the same platform, they can focus and avoid getting distracted by other apps. One thing I would like to see in the future is the ability to give feedback on the students' work using the same platform.

With pi-top’s electronics kit, it is easy to keep track of the materials since the box has a defined space for each component. If something is missing, it can be detected at a glance; this makes the teacher's job a lot easier, even when working with larger groups of students.


Tell us a little more about your experience with pi-top

Q. Which pi-top products do you use?

pi-top [4], Further, and the Electronics Kit.

Q. How did you discover pi-top?

A friend in the UK recommended pi-top. 

Q. How easy or difficult was it for you to get started using your pi-top products? 

We felt that it had a steep learning curve and required some knowledge about networks to get it going, but once those were addressed the implementation became a lot easier.  

Q. Is there anything that you or your students absolutely love about using pi-top products?

What I enjoy the most about pi-top is the ability to customize the lessons and adapt them to my needs. What my students love about pi-top is how easy it is to put things together and run the code.

Q. What is your favorite project (or what is your students' favorite project) using pi-top products?

We have yet to explore many projects from Further since we have recently started using pi-top. But the basic tutorials have been a great success. 

Q. Is there anything else that you would like to share about your experience with pi-top?

I think pi-top is a great product to teach CS and STEAM; I like the overall construction and presentation of the components. 

The Further app is an excellent tool for teachers to customize their lectures, and using the block pi coding language is a good way to get students to transition to a more structured written language. Overall I'm pleased about how my lectures are going with the use of pi-top products.

If you or someone you know has had an experience with pi-top like The Highlands School, we want to hear it! Not only are we looking for five teachers to feature on our website, you also stand the chance to win our Electronics & Robotics Superset.

Click here to submit a story.

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