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Sphero Robot Making an Impact in Schools

It might seem highly futuristic and pretty hard to believe be a little robot by the name of Sphero has already been making an impact in the classroom. If you were ever curious about how it works in the classroom, EdTechMagazine highlighted a few ways in which you could use the little fellow.

“The company that inspired Star Wars' BB-8 droid has already won the hearts and minds of K–12 students with a similar ball-shaped robot named Sphero,” according to Sam Patterson who operates his own blog called “My Paperless Classroom.”

Patterson highlighted the Sphero robot for EdTechMagazine and proved that there are ways to enhance learning in the K-12 classroom through the use of the robot. To program the lessons for Sphero, Patterson used Tickle, a platform that can be used to upload and program your lesson the way you want it.

The three programs that Patterson talks about include “Dance with Me, Programming a Hot Potato and Solving the Maze.”

“Students program Sphero to be their dance partner. I have done this in a few contexts, but the best was as part of a physical education unit on dance,” according to Patterson’s report.

“It is easy to program a robot to dance; for example, here is a Tickle program I wrote to make Sphero do the cupid shuffle. The real challenge was dancing with the robot. Students quickly realized they had to be as precise as the robot.”

It’s an interesting and innovative way to push the importance of physical education, while also using some form of technological device. It blends, physical education and technology together.

For students in a programming or coding course, the “Solving the Maze” lesson can be both fun and enlightening.

“For this lesson, imagine the Sphero is a ball-shaped protractor. Create a course on the floor with tape,” said Patterson.

“It does not have to be complex. Give small teams of two or three students a chance to program the robot to navigate the course. Team members will need to measure angles and distances and adjust the team’s program through trial and error. Even on a simple course, this lesson can be a perseverance trainer.”

The best part about Sphero is that educators who are looking for an innovative way to teach can program the robot to help in any manner. Even more interesting is the fact that Patterson uses the robot as a supplement to his learning, which is a prime example of how technology and educators can come together for some pretty cool, fun and educational experiences.

Read the full story.

Article by Navindra Persaud, Education World Contributor

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