Sphero - put some SPRK into Education at Mac Choice Rockhampton

The new Sphero SPRK Edition makes it even easier for teachers, parents, and kids to learn mathematics, robotics, and programming.

If you have not seen Sphero, it’s a small hand-sized ball you can program to change colors, run a circuit, keep beat with a song, and many other fun things.

The Sphero robot is great for kids and fits well into school curriculum. For example, at least one science teacher uses Sphero to replicate the orbits of planets around the sun, with each Sphero planet programmed to make a circuit identical to a real planet. Kids see an abstract idea - the planets orbit around the sun in different paths at different rates - operating on the floor in front of them.

Unlike programming with a computer and keyboard, to program a Sphero robot you use an iPhone app to drag blocks, specify what the robot will do when it processes the block, and then order your blocks to make Sphero perform the actions in order. Programming Sphero is more hands on with immediate feedback from the robot.

The small size of the Sphero robot and ease of programming make it perfect for kids, schools, and families.

Recently Sphero launched SPRK Education to support teachers, parents, and kids using Sphero to learn programming, robotics, and mathematics in a fun interactive way. SPRK Education included the cute round robot and a few software tools including MacroLab, software to program the robot’s behavior, as well as lesson plans and an online community to share experiences and help others.

Recently, Sphero launched Sphero SPRK edition based on over a year of experience with tens of thousands of kids, teachers, and parents. MacroLab has been renamed to Sphero SPRK and updated to make it even easier to drag and drop blocks to program the robot.

The updated Sphero SPRK app also includes OVAL, a C based programming language. OVAL lets you write code to directly control your Sphero robot with a few robot-specific changes to the C language, and is suitable for more advanced programmers.

Now you can program your Sphero with blocks or text-based code. Kids can learn to program the robot with blocks then evolve to coding with OVAL which, in turn, can help familiarise them with how C, C++, Python, Ruby, and other languages work. However, coding your Sphero with OVAL is not required. OVAL simply provides a path for kids who want to evolve from block programming to other languages.

The new Sphero SPRK also includes new packaging which extends the learning to the mundane act of pulling out your new round robot. Kids can see a neat exploded diagram that shows how the Sphero is built, for example. And a thick cardboard protractor is included to help determine angle measurements when you program your robot. The newest Sphero also has a clear shell so you can see your what makes your robot run.



Sphero products are available on our website now