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Sphero Edu is a Fun, Engaging Way to Develop Coding Skills

by on July 26, 2017
in Sponsored, Family and Parenting, Kids, Software & Games, Blog, Back to School :: 185 comments

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When I was growing up, kids at my school were far more likely to be taking a typing class than learning how to code. But computers have become such an integral part of our lives – from the powerful smartphones in our pockets to the Internet sites we use to get our information to our increasingly interconnected smart homes – that it is impossible to imagine life without them. And for our children, developing strong skills in not just using computers, but learning how to create the code that runs them, opens numerous options for their future careers.

As a journalist, I regularly use basic HTML and coding tools to produce the content for Techlicious. Friends of mine who run their own businesses have learned to code to keep their websites updated. And if your child has an interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields, being comfortable with coding is a must.

Helping kids gain proficiency in coding is the mission of Sphero Edu. Using a simple robotic ball called SPRK+, Sphero Edu offers children of all ages a community where they can engage in fun, collaborative activities that teach them the foundation of coding.

At its simplest, parents can help younger kids program SPRK+ by drawing shapes on a virtual canvas in the Sphero Edu app – ideal for kids who haven't yet leaned how to read. SPRK+ will follow the shape drawn.

Sphero Edu app block codeThen kids can step up to "block" programming, where they can drag-and-drop commands to create an infinite number of combinations to make SPRK+ do whatever they can imagine. There are dozens of commands that control movement and color, make sounds, create logical structures (If Then statements, program loops) and perform calculations to solve problems (e.g., give SPRK+ two sides of a triangle and have it figure out how to move to connect the two with a hypotenuse using the Pythagorean theorem). My 8-year old had no trouble getting up and going to create his first program that made SPRK+ roll to his father, squawk like a chicken and then return home. Pythagoras is in the pipeline...

More advanced learners can dig directly into the underlying JavaScript to see how the block programming gets translated into code. And then they can start building programs directly in JavaScript, themselves.

While kids can use the Sphero Edu app and SPRK+ to learn code on their own, the Sphero Edu community is what makes things special. There you will find an ever-growing list of hundreds of ideas from community members and Sphero experts for fun, educational activities kids can engage in. Some use just the SPRK+ robot, while others are full-blown engineering projects and science experiments powered by SPRK+. Kids can go in to find their own projects or parents can assign projects to them in virtual "classes". This video gives you a quick peek what you can use it for.

If you're looking to help your child explore his or her interest in coding, you can purchase the Sphero SPRK+ in the Sphero store for $129.99, which includes the app and access to the entire Sphero Edu community. You can download the Sphero Edu app for free in the App Store for iOS devices and Play Store for Android phones and tablets.

As a special offer to our readers, we are also giving away a SPRK+ Robot to one lucky winner. To enter, tell us in a comment below how you would use the SPRK+ in your family. The giveaway ends August 18, 2017. See official rules for complete details.

This is a sponsored conversation written on behalf of Sphero.


Discussion loading

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4-H Project

From Cary H on August 11, 2017 :: 10:37 am

We would love to use this to teach the kids in our Robotics 4-H project, in Warren County MO.

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New School, 6th Grade project

From Janetta Ellis on August 11, 2017 :: 11:23 am

I would give my son the opportunity to introduce this to his New School in Maryland for his 6th Grade project he is required to do. This would give him the longevity time requirements and he will continue to expand on coding knowledge from his old school here in Connecticut.

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My son would love to

From Anastasia Wolbert on August 11, 2017 :: 11:44 am

My son would love to advance his coding skills with this & bring it to school to teach other kids as well!

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Win for son

From Janet Belcher on August 11, 2017 :: 12:15 pm

I would use it for homeschool. My son loves to know how things work.

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Programing fun!

From Tami on August 11, 2017 :: 2:33 pm

My son would love to learn how to program this little robot! His dad has the sphero bb8 and they both love it

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LEARNING

From Destiny on August 11, 2017 :: 2:48 pm

I would give this to my two sons to have training for a trade. Then I would take it to their school to give a new learning experience to them. They can be the leaders to help demonstrate and teach it to their peers.

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For my daughter....

From EmieC on August 11, 2017 :: 3:03 pm

She’s getting really into computers and just watched her dad build one so I think she’d really enjoy this!

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Real Tech.

From Deb on August 11, 2017 :: 4:47 pm

I take my two children age 10 & 7 to the library and this is were we first learned about them. Would love for them to be able to have one at home.With school staring would love for them to focus and would reward them with allowing to play and developing learning skill instead of watching TV. Thanks. Good Luck to all. grin

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Awesome!

From Jennifer on August 11, 2017 :: 5:26 pm

My son has been asking for some thing to help him learn coding and I am clueless. This is awesome!

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Great for kids who dont like to read etc

From Ada Miller on August 11, 2017 :: 7:42 pm

Both of my boys dislike school etc so this would be great for them to learn with. They would look at it as a toy while I knew they was learning. This would be awesome. Thanks for the chance

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Continuing school fun

From Angella on August 12, 2017 :: 1:45 am

My daughter has been taken by coding at school.  We have been looking for something to keep her interests peaked. She would love to share the fun with her friends.

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My son has wanted one for a year

From Betony Miller on August 12, 2017 :: 3:46 am

My son got to learn about and use these in first grade and talked non-stop about how amazing they are and how much can be done with them. He would love to have one of his own to learn more on

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Best New Learning Tool

From Heidi Roberts on August 12, 2017 :: 4:08 am

Preparing our kids for their futures can be difficult. We’re hampered by our own lack of expertise to truly provide relevant, practical and FUN ways to interact with and give our kids a way to prepare for the future needs they will have in their lives. Sphero is an EXCELLENT way to do that!

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Expand Learning ♡

From Tanja Thompson on August 12, 2017 :: 11:05 am

My daughter loves Math and Science and this would be so fun to watch her learn and grow. ♡

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4 kids!

From Danica G on August 12, 2017 :: 11:22 am

I have 4 kids who would love to learn! They live STEM projects and we are looking for something like this to use in our homeschool!

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Sphero edu

From Wendell Wilkins on August 12, 2017 :: 1:00 pm

I would use this with my 5 kids in their homeschool curriculum.

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Homeschoolers

From Jamie Bitterman on August 12, 2017 :: 3:54 pm

I homeschool my kids and we do a lot of coding activities- this would go along great with their interests.

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SPRK+ + 3 BOYS = FUN & LEARNING

From Kate E on August 12, 2017 :: 4:31 pm

I’m sure I will be hearing a lot of chicken squawking and whatever other noises they can get it to make - LOL!

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Lil nephew

From John Kivlen on August 12, 2017 :: 6:04 pm

I would give this to my nephew. It is the perfect gift for learning.

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Great learning opportunity

From Angela on August 12, 2017 :: 8:11 pm

I have two girls who we homeschool and would love this.

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Love it!

From Shannon Beckham on August 12, 2017 :: 8:21 pm

My kids got to use sphero at Apple Camp this summer, they’d love to have one to code with at home.

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Homeschool

From Hannah Evans on August 12, 2017 :: 9:45 pm

As a homeschool mother of three we would use this for math, science and technology! My 3 kiddos love technology.

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This would make an awesome

From Trasina McGahey on August 12, 2017 :: 10:32 pm

This would make an awesome and perfect gift for my daughter who is so interested in everything but has nobody to help guide or teach her the basics.

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For my son

From Scott Hoffmaster on August 12, 2017 :: 11:23 pm

My son goes to a virtual school online because he has severe anxieties and is mildly autistic. He loves everything techy. He has a Kano computer and we are working on getting a 3 d printer and building his own computer tower. He has ozobots and a few other things but none are programmable robots. He works with several coding programs and is pretty good at it. He also is learning about arduinos and hide for 3 d printers and how to use 3 d design software.

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My Aspergers Son would love this!

From Holly Dietz Hoffmaster on August 13, 2017 :: 7:16 am

My son has Aspergers and loves anything technology! This would be a great way for him to really get into coding!

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I would give this to

From Ashley Ingle on August 13, 2017 :: 8:18 am

I would give this to my daughter to spark her interest in coding

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Homeschool advancement

From Matt on August 13, 2017 :: 8:47 am

Our 7 & 4 yr. olds are both 2 grade levels ahead of their age group, with ever inquisitive minds & a love for building things that ” do”.  They would both benefit from learning to code this way.

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We want to win this!

From Heather Baham on August 13, 2017 :: 8:48 am

My 4 children would LOVE to learn how to code.They are all fascinated by anything tech related.

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Gamer girl

From Richelle Ziegler on August 13, 2017 :: 10:12 am

My 9 year old is a gamer girl. I think this would be an awesome tool for her to use and learn with. As much as she loves games, if she knew how to code and program, she would have an absolute blast smile

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My husband is really excited

From Diane McDaniel on August 13, 2017 :: 10:27 am

My husband is really excited to teach the kids voding…this would get them started.  Thank you for the opportunity.

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This would help my STEM

From Kerri Liebmann Tilton on August 13, 2017 :: 12:36 pm

This would help my STEM students (K-5) with coding. So great!!

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Keeping it in the family

From Kerri Liebmann Tilton on August 13, 2017 :: 12:41 pm

My son would also love to learn how to code.

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Coding!

From Morgan Lockhart Fisher on August 13, 2017 :: 1:03 pm

My daughter and i got to use a product similar to this at the Great Prairie AEA in their 21st century classroom. It made me realize just how far technology has come since I was a child. I had to have the kids show me how to work it which made them proud that they got to teach me. I would take this to my daughters school so everyone has a chance to learn something that will be viral to learn since computers and coding are everywhere. Thanks for the chance to win this wonderful product.

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my 3rd grader is really

From erin h on August 13, 2017 :: 4:46 pm

my 3rd grader is really into gaming right now so this would be perfect!

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Perfect tool to help teach my children

From Sheryl Wright on August 13, 2017 :: 5:28 pm

I have 2 children and I love buying them toys that help teach them coding as it is an important skill to have for their futures.this would be an amazing thing to add to help them learn more

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I would love to have

From Kimberly Rotzinger on August 13, 2017 :: 6:45 pm

I would love to have my 9yr old son and 6 yr old daughter learn coding with this hands on tool.

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My daughter can't wait to code!

From Mallory on August 13, 2017 :: 8:18 pm

I have a little girl who is fascinated with robots and coding and we are trying to fuel that fire! She would absolutely love to have access to such a useful piece of technology!

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Tribal children need better access to technologies in order to navigate the future

From Amanda Irvine Dupuis on August 13, 2017 :: 9:53 pm

Our tribal family is big on tradition, which gives our children an edge in the world known as “strong cultural identity.” But because we live in poverty, and not by choice as some would claim, but because of unavoidable circumstance, our kids have a disadvantage when it comes to access to these kinds of expensive learning tools. I would love to give my son and his friends at our tribal school access to this learning tool because I believe it will give them skills that will help them navigate the future, which is being built upon a foundation of ever-evolving technology. As recent events have shown, native perspectives are essential to maintaining our earthly roots as we reach for the stars. In order to be heard, native voices need to be tied to minds well-versed in the languages of technologies. I would like my child and his friends to have the same academic opportunities afforded to children who don’t live in poverty, but for now, that is not the reality. One learning toy will hardly change that, but then, every effort makes a difference. Thanks for considering. If I win I will donate the learning device to the Nkwusm Salish Language Academy to be used by their 4th-8th grade students.

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4h robotics club

From Nicole Brann on August 13, 2017 :: 10:48 pm

We are starting a robotics club and this would be a great addition to the Montgomery County 4h’ers

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Please consider my son as you choose a winner for this opportunity to develop a lifelong skill and p

From Ali Grednuk on August 13, 2017 :: 11:18 pm

I think this would be great for my 15 yo son.  His father passed away from suicide last year And he has had a very difficult time.  For more than a year he has secluded himself from nearly everyone often spend hours on end alone in his room.  I don’t see very much emotion from him at all anymore, no smiles, no drowns.  Nothing.  I believe that he needs to find a hobby or interest that really sparks his curiosity and grand his attention.  He has a brilliant mind, just like his Dad did.  His father was a computer genius and enjoyed coding and such. I showed my son this device earlier and his eyes lit up,  only for a moment, but I saw it.  That spark that’s been missing for so long! I could truly see this being a huge building block for his present, future,  and especially his confidence and determination.  As a mother we all so desperately want to see our children happy, healthy, and fulfilled. I will leave it in God’s hands and pray that he blesses us with what we need to survive and thrive.

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Working Together

From Kellie Flores on August 13, 2017 :: 11:33 pm

My 11 year old daughter and 9 year old son love to play Terraria together. They have expressed in interest in learning how to make their own video games. This would be a great start!

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Something physical to learn with

From Jim on August 14, 2017 :: 12:09 am

I’d use this as an awesome tool to get the kids interested in learning how coding works.

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Love it

From Mandy on August 14, 2017 :: 12:23 am

My kid would love this

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Mommy of 6

From Dusti Dionne on August 14, 2017 :: 2:19 am

We have six kids, I would love this to be able to teach them something new. I love being able to show them new things and expand their minds. With ages 18-7 this could be just one more thing that they could learn to help with their future success.

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We homeschool and my oldest

From Datmina on August 14, 2017 :: 2:20 am

We homeschool and my oldest is very interested in coding and always looking for new an exciting ways to learn. I think this would help her have fun and learn!

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No Idea

From Amber Hites on August 14, 2017 :: 5:27 am

I really have no idea - but I am sure my son would help me figure it out!!

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My daughter's would love to

From Jason Grice on August 14, 2017 :: 7:13 am

My daughter’s would love to be able to play with their own sphere o! They have a coding class at their school so it would be fun for us to be able to do some coding together at home! Being a single father, I am always looking for great projects for us to do and robots and coding seem to be their biggest interests right now

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Coding

From Melissa G on August 14, 2017 :: 7:16 am

I goce it to my daughter, who is 9. She loves all things technology & science. She has taken a introduction to coding class and absolutely loved it. She wants to do more with it. But I don’t have the availability to provided her more.

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We would use sphero in

From Diane on August 14, 2017 :: 9:12 am

We would use sphero in our homeschool to develop coding skills.

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Nice

From Mae on August 14, 2017 :: 10:57 am

Both kids would love to learn

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