BETT 2022: Introducing Sphero
We look at one of our brand partners Sphero ahead of the Bett Show 2022.
I love it when I hear students shout out “This is the best day ever” when we run workshops
Darren Tobin – Head of Education EMEA
Speaking with Head of Education EMEA at Sphero, Darren Tobin.
Who are Sphero & What do you do?
We make super cool, programmable robots and STEAM-based educational tools that transform the way kids learn, create, and invent through coding, science, and the arts.
Sphero robots help kids learn fundamental STEM concepts through play-based learning and educational STEAM activities. You can use Sphero robots to play games, create programs, or complete challenges. Sphero robots are not limited to STEAM, you can add them into any classroom curriculum for a fun twist in learning. We offer hundreds of free, standards-aligned activities in the Sphero Edu app. With the recent introduction of our robot “indi” for the younger learners we now have a solutions for any age group in education, allow you to START, GROW & GRADUATE with Sphero.
Students can begin their educational journey with Sphero’s entry level robots such as indi, mini & BOLT and our cross curricula Key Stages Aligned lesson plans. Whether they are just getting started at aged 4 with programming indi, or looking to grow their engineering and computational thinking skills, they’ll find themselves at home within the Sphero Edu ecosystem, which includes the Sphero EDU Junior for the indi robot & the Sphero EDU App for mini, BOLT and RVR robits.
A key thing for me is that a lot of young people are very worried or believe that they are not good at maths or they are not good at problem solving or they’re not good at science. Actually, the key thing with LEGO® is that it’s LEGO®, so they’ve played with LEGO® for a long time, it gives them the skills and the tools they need: if they can just put the thing together again, they’ve then got to learn how to programme it. As long as somebody can build it, and if they’ve got somebody in the team who is good at programming, not everyone has to be a superstar brainbox but a lot of people can get involved and have a positive experience with it.
Why do students and educators love using Sphero resources?
Great question. I would say that the words I hear every day from teachers and students would be: Fun, engaging, playful, simplicity and robust. But to get a true reflection of what they really think you should check out this video
How closely aligned are Sphero resources to the UK curriculum?
Our approach has always been to ensure that teachers in the UK are fully supported with amazing lesson plans that are alignment to local curriculum standards.
- Our indi Class Pack comes with a 100 page Teacher guide inside the box, and includes 20 x KS1 & KS2 aligned lesson plans, covering Science, Maths & Computing.
- And our BOLT & RVR robot is supported by the Sphero EDU App which provides teachers with free access to 1000’s of lesson plans aligned to Key Stages 1-5, covering all areas of the curriculum
Whilst our Sphero EDU app offers teachers access to thousands of lesson plans for free, ‘Computer Science Foundation’ (CSF) course books provides a scaffolded approach to learning with BOLT & RVR robots.
Rather than be experts themselves, teachers learn to code alongside students while fostering healthy class culture and modelling growth mindsets.
Computer Science Foundation (CSF)
CSF enhances core content areas by enabling non-computer science teachers to make curricular connections and explore computer science with their students, from foreign language to science to PE.
Computer Science Foundations (CSF) is a supplemental, key Stage-aligned curriculum designed to be taught in the classroom alongside our robots. CSF teaches STEAM principles through computer science over three 24-lesson courses. Each cross-curricular lesson builds on the previous one and allows teachers and students to grow together.
Course 1 – For anyone Starting out with Sphero for the first time
- Course 1 will help students become more familiar with Sphero Edu. We’ll start with the Draw Canvas and then introduce them to the Block Canvas where they’ll practice beginning and intermediate block programming. Students will use their Sphero robots to create and run programs involving shapes, numbers, art, and nature.
- By the end of the course, students will demonstrate proficiency with the Draw Canvas and know how to use block programs to manipulate lights and sounds and create loops and conditionals.
Course 2 – If you already have Sphero but are struggling to think what to do next in the class, then start here
- By the end of this course, students will demonstrate a mastery of block programming by manipulating sensors, loops, conditionals, variables, and functions. They will also understand block to text transitions.
Course 3 – Secondary school Implementation
How do Sphero resources stand up to the test of the modern day classroom environment?
Well, for starters our robots are extremely robust. They have to be to be in a classroom environment. And we don’t ask you to build a robot from parts that might go missing – Our robots are prebuild. And our robots such as BOLT & RVR use our programming App “Sphero EDU”, where teacher can create new lesson plans to meet the requirements of an ever changing environment. There is always something new to learn with Sphero robots.
Tell us what you love about working with Sphero.
The team – I’ve worked in Tech for over 25 years and I have to say that the team at Sphero is the best I have ever worked with. Committed & eager to making learning Fun!
Customer feedback – I love it when I hear students shout out “This is the best day ever” when I run workshops. And when students have fun those lessons become memorable and stay with them.
Our robots – They get to play with cool robots and learn amazing skills to enable them to become the world’s future changemakers