Imagine kids in P.E. class …
… journeying to Ancient Egypt to hunt for the Pharaoh’s lost artifacts,
… evading the terrible Kraken monster as they navigate the waters of the village of Vika,
… solving physics puzzles to help Mozzart the Mouse find his cheese, or
… maneuvering stars to the right place on the Cartesian plane to create constellations.
That’s what P.E. class looks like every day at Bennett Ranch Elementary in Falcon, CO.
For several years, teacher Ben Wells has been using Lü, a system that pairs interactive software with world-class audio-visual equipment from Epson to provide kids with purposeful activities that combine learning with movement. Think interactive playground with an academic slant.
With thirty-three different applications (and counting), Lü provides engaging, curriculum-based educational activities. Designed by, and for, educators, the activities help kids of all ages foster their physical, social-emotional, and intellectual skills. For instance, kids use movement to help plants thrive through the process of photosynthesis with the app Leaf. With the Grub application, they target ingredients to make up a well-balanced meal. And with Wak, kids bonk bunnies on the head to solve math problems.
The founder of Lü, Vincent Routhier, says it was a “no-brainer” to pair his fun and interactive software with Epson projection. “They have the best products, a high reputation in the education market, and amazing support.”
We spoke with Wells about how the powerful combination of Epson projection and Lü software has helped him take his teaching, and his students’ learning, to the next level.
It’s not just for jocks.
“One of the best things about using Lü is that it makes learning accessible for all kids,” says Wells. “It’s about skill and learning. It’s about figuring out how to solve a problem, a game, or a challenge. And it’s about kids working together. Lü helps me open up a world of fitness and physical education to all of my students, not just the few who may be really good at it.”
With built-in timers and countdowns, lights, and sound effects, Lü gives kids instant, meaningful feedback on their performance. “When kids see the scoreboard, it gives them incentive to keep working and helps them focus on what they’re doing,” says Wells. “It takes away comparison with others and empowers students to take ownership of their learning and internalize skills.”
Lü is endlessly versatile.
Every application can be used to teach and give kids practice with whatever skill they’re working on; from throwing, kicking, and jumping to running, using racquets, and more. In addition, it taps into multiple learning modes: audio, visual, and kinesthetic learning. “It’s not just kids sitting around and listening as you teach,” Wells says. Best of all, it’s easily adaptable for students with physical differences. For example, if a student is unable to run and jump to hit a target, Wells has them use a pool noodle to reach the target.
It helps him meet kids where they are.
“It’s all about meeting kids where they are,” says Wells. “You use what they’re interested in instead of telling them to do it your way.” And for kids today, that means hooking them with technology. As a teacher with a Master’s Degree in Integrating Technology, Wells has always woven technology into his curriculum. But he understands the push-back from some teachers who are used to doing things a certain way. “Technology is not supposed to be a replacement for traditional phys. ed. instruction,” he reassures. “Rather, it’s a tool to be used, just like smartwatches and Fitbits and heart rate monitors. Technology enhances what we’re already doing and takes it to the next level.”
Lü is easy to use for everyone, at all levels.
“Lü is user-friendly enough that any teacher can use it,” says Wells. “It does take a little bit of getting used to, but no more than learning to use a doc-cam, smartboard, or iPad is.” In fact, on Wells’ off-periods, classroom teachers often come in to use Lü to play learning games to reinforce concepts, or just have brain breaks, with their students.
It’s been a lifesaver during remote learning.
Wells’ school recently pulled back to online learning, and he has found Lü to be an invaluable tool for getting kids up and moving. “Kids are already spending enough time in front of a screen,” he says. “If they’re going to be in front of a screen with me, they’re going to be moving.” He meets each class daily on Google Meets for an active warmup, doing one of the activities on Lü remotely on screen. “It breaks things up,” says Wells. “And it’s a fun and unique way to connect with kids.”
Lü is a win-win for students and teachers.
For kids, Lü provides high-quality, meaningful activities that reinforce skills and facilitate personal growth. And for teachers, Lü helps them run their classes more efficiently and effectively. “It doesn’t matter which application I run,” says Wells, “every activity has built-in time parameters, which enhances time on task for kids. Plus, Lü’s big screen projection, powered by Epson, allows more kids to participate. And with increased participation and engagement, the happiness factor goes up.”
Check out Ben Wells and his students in action in the video below.