Around the Sphero we go

So, this week in ECMP 455 we were tasked with talking about an educational technological topic that interests us, and I thought “Hey, what’s better to talk about than  Sphero?” (@Sphero on Twitter)

Mechanically, a Sphero device is a spherical robot that can be controlled via bluetooth.  I was able to test these out during my Internship, and it was amazing the possibilities.  There are many, many apps that one can get on their smartphone to control the Sphero, the coolest of which is their Lightning Lab app.

 

The Lightning Lab app previously only allowed students to program their Sphero device using block-coding (like Scratch).  But, during my time Interning, this app updated to include not just block-coding, but type-coding and (something I had never seen) draw-coding, in which students would draw a path on their smart-device that would then program the Sphero.  It was all really cool.

Overall the reason that I think that Spheros are valuable is because it is a device that will get students excited (who doesn’t want to control a robot) about coding, which is such an important skill.  My cooperating teacher, @vendi55, always reminded me that, as educators, we are preparing students for jobs that don’t even exist yet, and one of the best ways to do that is to teach them not only the skills involved in computer engineering (as technology becomes more and more prevalent in our society everyday), but the skills that allow them to become producers in an evermore consumer-based society.  Thank you for reading.

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2 thoughts on “Around the Sphero we go

  1. Thanks for sharing, James! I have never heard of Sphero — it sounds like a neat tech tool! I’ll have to learn more about it. Is it specially an educational tool, or just a piece of tech that has educational possibilities? What are some ways that you used Sphero during your internship?

    • I think that it was initially intended as tech for entertainment, but the company has definitely marketed it and supported it as a tech tool, especially in regards to teaching students about coding.
      In my classroom I tried to have students use it when learning about trigonometry. Specifically they could use it to measure the length of given right triangles, as seen here.

      Other than that, the Spheros we had were much beloved by the Tech club that met in our classroom during lunch, and as well students used them in addition to other tools during Hour of Code on December 5.
      Thanks for asking!

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