Therefore, i3-Technologies, a division from i3-Group (a world player in the field of school furniture and digital boards) developed a smart cube made from Expanded Polypropylene (EP) which stimulates movement. De Bremberg, a school in Diest, Belgium, for preschool, elementary school children and adolescents with moderate to severe mental disability, started testing this iMO-LEARN project on September 1st.
Because the iMO-LEARN cubes are so innovative, i3-Technologies introduced them to a number of schools and centers, including De Bremberg. In preparation of this project, the school for special education received the necessary training to use and evaluate all aspects. During the entire trial period, the teachers will also receive training and the opportunity to provide feedback, which will be used by the team of i3 trainers to implement improvements (e.g. to fine-tune the practice book). In addition, the added value of the iMO- LEARN will be further investigated in primary and secondary schools, in special education, rehabilitation centers, homes for disabled, occupational therapy centers... i3-Technologies is lending iMO-LEARN demo sets and training teachers and social workers in its use since August. Due to the professional approach, the study will provide lots of information on the following fields:
- • the possible applications in dynamic seating, analog physical activities and digital physical activities
- • difference in skills between age categories
- • the influence of physical or mental disabilities
- • the findings of the users, teachers, school board, etc.
- • the quality of the instructions and instructional videos
- • writing a case study for each target audience
Children move their limits at De Bremberg
After a month, the first and second impressions of the teachers and students evolved into valuable feedback. The teachers of children with disabilities call our attention to elements that we were not always aware of.
It is a fact that children move their limits when they play with the cubes. It is often difficult for students from special schools to climb stairs. The cube is about 40 cm tall and has no straight sides. This makes it very exciting for them to get on the cube and try to maintain their balance. Sometimes the students don’t succeed on their own. Then they need to help and hold each other. They are as proud as a peacock when they stand straight on the cube. It’s very entertaining to watch!
The cubes seem heavy, but appearances can be deceiving. The students are very surprised when they manage to lift them up. Suddenly they feel invincible.
During the first lesson the students notice these are no ordinary cubes, because the sides have different shapes. In the beginning they stand on the flat side, while a real daredevil attempts to stand on the hollow, wobbly side. Children explore their limits and surprise the teachers and themselves, which motivates them.
Secondly, the iMO-LEARN challenges teachers to be creative. It forces
them to abandon familiar activities and materials. Especially because students are not only challenged in a physical way in class (PE), but they also have to use their intelligence to recognize colors, shapes and groups.
Thirdly, the iMO-LEARN is a very user-friendly tool according to the teachers, which can be used for various activities. Students at De Bremberg are only getting to know the iMO-LEARN as a physical activity, not as a piece of furniture nor as a digital component. Therefore, the cube is mainly used during the lessons PE. At a later point, they also want to incorporate it into other lessons. To this end, i3-Technologies is working towards a ready-to-use activity bundle with activities per level and optionally additional materials such as colors or shapes linked to icons. A series of instructive images has already been created to show the teachers which figures can be constructed with the iMO-LEARNs: the image series is directly based on feedback i3-Technologies received from De Bremberg.
De Bremberg uses the iMO-LEARN for multiple purposes
- For example, to build structures (arc, tall tower, solid wall). Here, students have to make sure all cubes are stacked on the right side to prevent the structure from toppling over.
- As a balancing exercise.
- To practice spatial orientation. The iMO-LEARN helps to make spatial orientation concrete, tangible and visual. For example, students have to stand behind the cube. This is completely different from seeing it on paper.
- To practice arithmetic. For that purpose, the cubes are transformed into dices. To obtain number 11, they have to stand on the cubes number 5 and 6.
i3-Technologies Caroline Coppens
Marketing & Communication
T +32 70 220 600 M +32 472 69 60 17