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Hi, I’m Brad Feld, a managing director at the Foundry Group who lives in Boulder, Colorado. I invest in software and Internet companies around the US, run marathons and read a lot.

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Kids Learn to Program with Sphero Robots Saturday in Boulder

Comments (9)

Teaching kids to program is not an easy task – their attention span is short and what they are able to accomplish in a brief period of time is often uninspiring which results in them losing attention quickly.

Robots help a lot with this!

The Orbotix team has turned their Sphero into a fantastic programming aid to introduce coding to kids as young as 4th grade.  In about an hour kids will be commanding their robot to drive geometric patterns while also learning a bit about angles, degrees, time and distance calculations, loops and conditional branching. If your my age, you might remember Logo and turtle graphics. It turns out to be really cool to toss a robot into the mix, instead of just a computer screen.

Coding is done via a simple app on either Android or iOS devices and sent to the Sphero via Bluetooth.  The younger kids learn to program using a simple scripting language developed by Orbotix called MacroLab – the older kids learn BASIC which Sphero can interpret to do some complex tasks.

Orbotix is hosting a “Sphero Rangers” event at the Google offices here in Boulder this Saturday from 11am to 2pm.  Robots and programming devices will be provided – but bring your smartphone if you want to use your own.  Attendees will also be able to get a Sphero at a discounted price. If interested sign up here: http://www.meetup.com/sphero-rangers/events/114025302/

  • http://www.lacertabio.com Carlos N Velez/Lacerta Bio

    This is a GREAT idea!

  • http://garlandbinns.com/ Garland William Binns III

    +1

  • http://www.facebook.com/hhcanes Heather Hallet-Schwartz

    Please host this again. Zach would love to come, but is testing for 2nd degree BlackBelt this Saturday!!! What a great idea!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/sequenzia Steve Sequenzia

    Cool idea. I’m coming and bringing my 11 year old. I’ve been trying to get him into coding (without forcing it on him) for years. He loves his Sphero so hopefully this will spark his interest.

  • http://byJess.net/ Jess Bachman

    Really awesome, I hope Sphero posts some vids of this stuff in action. Sidenote, my 5 year old is learning to ‘program’ with redstone in minecraft.

  • panterosa,

    I loved when you posted Sphero in Union Square for xmas!! How did I miss the live demo?? I live steps from there….
    Since then I met Sphero at the Toy Fair, and even recommended them to an engineering startup in my accelerator at CBS, especially since they are open source.
    But to boot, my 11 year old, @pantherkitty, is ripe for learning some code. So we will look into this. Only downside for us is price of Sphero, since we’d want a bunch of them having seen how they can be choreographed.

    This is so exciting for kids – will you post results?

  • Richard J Keck

    Thanks for sharing this Brad. Our kids, 12 and 8, had a great time. The programming was easy for novices to pickup. I highly recommend the program.

    • http://www.feld.com bfeld

      Awesome!

  • Jenica Watts

    Sphero Rangers is rocking! Parents and kids like have loved it.

    Our next event is May 18th at the SendGrid office in Denver.

    See more here: http://www.meetup.com/sphero-rangers/

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