He started our club time by showing the students that they could actually do more with the Sphero balls that just drive them using the iPads as a remote control. Using our big screen, he demonstrated how to command the Sphero to do what you want it to do using an app called Sphero Macrolab.
Basic programming was explained to the students, as well as degrees and angles. The Sphero Macrolab site says, "The macro system we have developed for Sphero has very practical applications, such as teaching kids procedural thinking and basic programming skills."
It was very exciting to watch the students actually program the Sphero instead of driving it with the iPad app. There was definitely collaboration and critical thinking involved in this process, as pairs of students worked together to drive the Sphero ball.
|iPads ready with the Sphero MacroLab app|
The students did a great job of applying what Dr. Keith had taught them, and Sphero balls were buzzing all around the library!
A few students worked with the new Sphero Ollie, using their own device to control it. We had a little difficulty finding the right device to pair with it as it seems our iPads are too old for the app to work. Luckily, a couple of our students had newer devices and downloaded the app. That is a great thing about being a BYOD campus! Someone usually has a device that will work!
As if learning to program the Sphero balls weren't enough, we also brought out the new Makey-Makey we received through Donors Choose. I have to admit that I have been a little intimidated by the Makey-Makey, but the students (with the help of Dr. Keith) figured it out quickly! We even had students come in during lunch the next day to explore it more!
Next week we will continue to learn programming using the Sphero ball and the Sphero Ollie. After the Christmas break we will bring in new members to learn coding and robotics, while the current members continue learning. It is exciting to hear the students talking about coding, coming into the library during lunch, recess and any free time, to work with the computers or Sphero balls!