Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Sphero 2.0 - A Young Programmer's Dream #EdTechChat #EdChat

Update: Orbotix has launched their education page that has lesson to make Sphero part of your class. They have also launched an #SPRKScholarship contest on Instagram. Check it out so you can bring Sphero to your class.

Orbotix reached out to me and sent me a Sphero 2.0 for the purpose of this review.

Before you read anything else, please watch this video so you can get a feel for what Sphero 2.0 can do.

I was sort of into RC cars when I was little. I would drive them around the house and run into things and generally scare the crap out of my dogs and cats. Those fun memories came flooding back to me after I had a chance to play with Sphero 2.0

I have to say, the Sphero experience is way better than any RC car I had growing up. By connecting the Sphero to my iPhone using a Bluetooth, I was able to control Sphero very easily. The movements were just as smooth as you saw on the video (You did watch the video right?) and controls were easy to understand. My students picked up my phone and were able to control Sphero without any instructions. 

I love that there are many apps available to do different things with Sphero. Here is a picture of the apps I have on my phone. 

The Drive app is simple driving and changing colors. It has some pre-programmed patterns it can do and flashing multicolored lights. It is a great app to get a user comfortable moving Sphero around. 

Draw and Drive is exactly what the title says it is. You can draw the path you want the Sphero to take and it will follow that path. It takes some getting used to to fully understand how far a line drawn is to the actual surface you have, but once that is figured out, it is a really fun app to play with in a large space. 

Rolling Dead is an Augmented Reality game that allows you to roll Sphero around and shoot zombies that crawl out of the ground. Here is a shot of some zombies and Sphero in my school hallway. 

This is a fun game that takes some time getting used to moving the device to follow Sphero to keep it in the camera view, moving Sphero around, and shooting zombies. After a few minutes of playing with it, my students were soon competing for high scores. 

One of the coolest aspects of Sphero is the fact that it has an app that can allow for some coding. This is really what sparked my interest as I thought about the implications a device like this could have in the classroom. The MacroLab app allows users to design their own programs for Sphero

A person can design their own paths, color combinations, and any other tricks they can think of with MacroLab. As I think more about coding for younger students, I love it when I see something that could fit perfectly in a classroom. Here is a shot of one of the programs that can be run using the app. 

What is even more exciting about Sphero is that the company, Orbotix, is going to be launching a program called SPRK (School, Parents, Robots, & Kids) that is designing lessons to go along with MacroLabs and Sphero to help kids learn about Geometry, Physics, and Basic Programming. They will be running contests to get people Sphero in their classroom so they can help their students so amazing things. Stay tuned for some cool updates in this department. 

Sphero 2.0 is priced at $129.99 and I think it is worth every penny. The apps that are available are free and will lead to hours of enjoyment and learning for adults and students. If you have a budding programmer in your house or classroom, Sphero is a fun way to get started. Heck, if you have wanted to do a little programming, Sphero is perfect for you too. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this post. I really want to buy it now. I am just learning about Sphero and the tech nerd in me is excited! Wonder if they can create an app for English and Social Studies...


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