I just saw this video from Sphero and was impressed to see that the featured teacher is Brad Lowell from Hamilton Southeastern’s Fall Creak Intermediate school. It is impressive to see how Mr. Lowell has taken what was initially a shared interest with students and turned it not only into a club, but evolved it into classroom learning.
Rather than write numerous paragraphs on what Mr. Lowell is doing and the results, let me simply post a video here where he explains it himself. The video starts with one of the best quotes as to what makes a great teacher, “The trick is that your really disguising the learning in the fun. There is so much learning that they’re getting, that they don’t even realize. The math the science…” Rather than quoting the whole vidoe, here it is:
I actually own a Sphero myself. While it is a simplistic device in what it can do, it is a great device to entertain and challenge a person into working through basic concepts around programming and such. It is also a great way to get into robotics.
If you are unfamiliar, a Sphero is a plastic computerized ball that can be controlled remotely. You can control the direction of its movement including its speed as well as control the color of the light that is shining within it. Using Bluetooth, it can be controlled by a phone or tablet such as an iPad.
As you can see in the video, the HSE class is using iPads to do their controlling of the devices. As a note, all fifth graders in the Hamilton Southeastern schools have to have an iPad. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about Spheros. You can, however, find Spheros at places like Brookstone or on Amazon. There was also a special Star Wars BB-8 version of Sphero available.
As Mr. Lowell says, it is also a way to apply some of the core topics students are learning such as math.I’ll be curious to see how Hamilton Southeastern schools applies what Mr. Lowell has done to the other intermediate schools in their district. With my kids being in one of those other schools, I hope the information is shared and replicated!