Filmmaker and transmedia pioneer Lance Weiler just launched his latest project, and it’s aimed straight at the heart of classrooms.
Lyka’s Adventures is an extension of the experiment Weiler and his team at Connected Sparks have been running involving a robotic space explorer named Lyka whose trip from Montreal to Los Angeles inspired two classrooms of children to learn about our planet alongside the robot.
Starting today Lyka is back, this time with a multi-tiered media project–8 books tie into a plush version of Lyka whose heart pouch can hold an app-equipped smartphone–that is raising money via IndieGoGo. The educational aim is to teach kids STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) skills that focus on “empathy, listening, shaping questions, rapid prototyping and physical computing.”
The seeds for this project started with Weiler’s own educational experience:
I’m dyslexic and it’s something that has challenged me throughout my life. In elementary school I was almost held back twice. It was only thanks to the efforts of my mother working with me during summer vacations that I was able to keep up. So when my son Dylan, who is now 6, started to exhibit what his school at the time determined were “focus” issues they wanted to test him, to label him and then suggested that we should consider medication. Feeling as if the cycle would repeat itself, my wife and I decided to pull Dylan out of that school and place him in a Montessori program. The results have been amazing as he’s taken to the discovery-based approach, which allows him to learn at his own pace. The methods are very much in line with 21st century skills.
Inspired, I decided to create an educational initiative that brings an experiential learning approach to parents and students, no matter if they can afford a Montessori program or not.
Weiler and company are aiming to raise $50,000 via crowdfunding for the books, toys, app and outfitting a traveling STEAM educational lab.