The closest most of us got to learning to code in grade school was math class. And, most of us remember math class as nothing more than an hour we were forced to endure. A teacher would drone on about an incomprehensible subject until the bell would ring and we’d be freed.
I’d be willing to bet that a majority of people reading this remember little from math class other than the dread it provoked. Remember the pythagorean theorem? Didn’t think so. But, how much do you think that would have changed if there were robots involved?
Sphero, the makers of app connected robots, is trying to make STEM classes fun. The company just unveiled a new SPRK robot designed to inspire kids to learn STEM subjects.
"There's no rule that says learning shouldn't be fun, or that playing can't be valuable. If there is, we created SPRK to break it,” said Rob Maigret, COO of Sphero said in a statement. “SPRK is for the makers, hackers, and dreamers of the future... for those who would rather learn by doing, not by watching."
The SPRK is controlled using a new version of Sphero’s app. The app allows students to give the robot commands utilizing visual blocks representing Sphero’s C-based coding language OVAL. It's coding-lite, but the commands you give it actually make the robot move and interact in the physical world. Even cooler, the SPRK sports a clear skin, so you can see what's going inside.
Unfortunately, the SPRK does not have the ability to upload math skills into our children's heads. If it did, it would likely cost far more than $130. Still, it certainly seems like a better way to inspire kids to learn STEM than endless exercise books and droning professors.