It’s undeniable. The look on any child’s face who plays with Sphero for the first time is sheer delight. Every single time.
Since purchasing Sphero as part of the research my colleagues and I are doing to create a innovative new school, I have witnessed children and adults alike, experience the same reaction to Sphero. First a look of awe, then wonder, then pure excitement.
Sphero is a new robot created to help kids experience the power of learning code and the wonder of robotics. Sphero can do tricks, is waterproof, and even has augmented reality capabilities. With any Android or iOS smartphone or tablet, you can download over 30 apps that controls Sphero. The apps have a variety of capabilities such as: driving, programming (coding), arcade style games, augmented reality, tabletop games, and even multiplayer games.
Here are some of the apps I have tested:
Sphero– This app is the first app you should download. This app allows you to sharpen your driving skills in a game based way. You can adjust Sphero’s color, speed, and even add some new tricks. My personal favorite is when Sphero dances.
Sphero Draw N’ Drive– This is another driving app. You simply draw a line on the screen and Sphero will travel the same pattern on the floor. You can adjust colors as well.
Sphero MacroLab– This is a programming app. This is one of the apps you will need to download to do the SPRK lessons (keep reading to learn more about the SPRK curriculum).
orbBasic– This is another programming app used in the SPRK curriculum.
Sharky the Beaver– This is an augmented reality app that turns Sphero into Sharky the Beaver. You will fall in love with the character’s silly antics. This unique technology makes it appear as though Sharky comes to life. Sphero is designed to be the trigger thus allowing Sharky to move around. (iOS only)
Sphero Cam– Test your filming capabilities as you record or take images of Sphero in action!
Sphero really is a versatile robot, but for classroom use it is an engaging way for children to learn coding skills. What I like most about using Sphero to teach coding skills is that kids have an interactive and instant result of seeing their code play right in front of them.
If you visit Sphero’s website they have STEM based lessons and challenges called SPRK. I have had the opportunity to test out the “Core lessons” which help to build beginning coding skills with the MacroLab app. While learning coding skills, students are also utilizing math and science knowledge such as the interaction of speed, distance, and time. The STEM Challenges are multi-day experiments that help students collaborate and use critical thinking skills to solve problems.
Here is an image of students making a prediction about the speed, distance, and time Core lesson and preparing the code to play:
I have had the opportunity to play with Sphero both at home with my children and in classroom settings. Sphero brings smiles and fun to any room. If you happen to be looking for an interesting and educational holiday or birthday gift, or if you are looking to integrate STEM lessons into your classroom, Sphero is the way to go!
Here I am with Sharky:
View Sphero promo video: