USTA New England and Unruly Studios match tennis and STEAM education in after-school programs

BOSTON, April 6, 2022 / PRNewswire / – Unruly Studios has partnered with USTA New England to combine coding and active play in the organization’s network of after-school tennis programs. Children in Massachusetts, Rhode Islandand New Hampshire plays tennis and learns to code at the same time using Unruly Splats.

Invented by Boston-based Unruly Studios, Unruly Splats are programmable floor buttons that students step on to make them light up, play sounds and collect points. Using an iPad or Chromebook, students can code them to create games that promote movement and teamwork, such as relay races, slap-a-mole, or games of their own design. Unruly Studios partnered with USTA New England to create a customized lesson plan that combines coding concepts and tennis skills.

“Unruly Splats is a strong entry point for STEM for kids who love sports,” he said Bryanne Leeming, CEO and founder of Unruly Studios. “We can’t wait to see what USTA’s instructors and students come up with, whether it’s coding their own workouts or maybe using Splats as a target for tennis balls. The sky’s the limit.”

The introduction of Unruly Splats was inspired by the USTA New England Innovation Challenge to come up with new ideas for tennis education that focus on inclusivity. Special education teacher and tennis coach, Resty Sepuan, made a program called Summer STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, mathematics).

“I chose STEAM because of its real-world application and how fascinating it would be to use it to showcase the scientific side of tennis,” Sapuan said. “The idea could not only help students maintain academic skills that many lose over the summer, but it could help them become better, more technical tennis players.”

USTA New England Director of Recreational Programs and Facilities, Sarah Wishartorganized a test drive with Unruly Splats starting in January 2022 with two New England National Junior tennis and learning chapters, TeamFAME in Newport, RI and Sportsmen’s Tennis & Enrichment Center in Dorchester, MA.

TeamFAME, based on the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport recently completed their pilot with fifth and sixth grade. After tennis on Friday, TeamFAME students spent an hour coding and playing games with Unruly Splats.

“They certainly learned a lot. When they changed the code, they could see their effect right away. They also benefited from having the physical piece of movement and sound that responded,” he said. Jennie Schwab, TeamFAME Lead Enrichment Teacher. “Any kind of opportunity like this for kids to code or just experience something like this, even if it only affects a handful of kids, can be extremely beneficial.”

Unruly Splats are now in the hands of athletes in Dorchester, which continues the pilot until April. USTA New England will also bring Unruly Splats to the New Hampshire Homeschool Tennis Program later this year.

“Funnily enough, the first game we built for Unruly Splats on one of our earliest prototypes was a tennis game,” Leeming said. “It required coordination between two players to volley light back and forth from Splat to Splat. So we have come full circle to cooperate with USTA.”

About Unruly Studios
Unruly Studios is the creator of Unruly Splats, the first STEM learning tool that combines coding with active play. Unruly Studios’ vision is to create an electronic playground that makes learning more playful, collaborative and inclusive. The team consists of experts in cognitive science, toy manufacturing and education, who bring broad industry experience from Scratch, Mattel, Nickelodeon, iRobot, Disney and MIT Media Lab.

Charlotte Ward
(530) 563-6860
[email protected]

SOURCE Unruly Studios


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