Saturday, December 24, 2016

Sphero in the Classroom

At the beginning of the school year our Tech Support Staff, Alysia Caouette, showed me a Sphero.  She had worked at another school last summer where they had Sphero's and thought they would be fun to bring to the students of Hassan Elementary.  She brought it up to our principal and then to the parent group (PTO) who approved 25 Spheros to be purchased for our school.  

Why Sphero? Alysia is very researched when it comes to technology.  She has looked at many robots for education but landed on Sphero's because of their immediate gratification when programming.  Students are able to code and watch the Sphero perform immediately.  But her goal was to get the Sphero in every student's hands, that's where I come in.  I teach every student so if we brought them into the Art room, that would be the best way to reach this goal. 

We chose the last week before Holiday break.  The kids are hopped up on candy, there is a party in every classroom, and energy is high... really high.  So why not ramp it up with a super engaging tool like a robot in Art Class?  This was so motivating that we had very few discipline problems.

The first thing that I wanted was to identify the goals of using this tool in my classroom.  That was easy... 

1. It's a heck of a lot of fun.  Yep, that can be an 'I Can Statement'... or a 'Target'... or whatever your school calls it.  Making sure students want to be in school should be our number one goal.  So fun... Check!

2. It's an amazing jumping off point for 'What is Art?'.  Creating a very abstract painting with robots lends itself easily to this conversation.  Is this art if it doesn't make a picture?  Is this art if the robots created it? Can we compare this work of Art to other paintings from Art History? Jackson Pollock of course, was our comparison Artist.  Like Pollock, is the art we created 'Performance Art'?  The kids had lot's to think about while wrapping up the lesson.

3. Another purpose was to have a 'training day' with the Spheros.  Learning is best done when it can be turned into play.  So now all of the classes have a base and will be able to use this more easy in Tech class for coding. 

I can't wait to break down this lesson for you in the next couple of posts.  Here is the sequence of posts to look forward to... 

Monday, December 26th- Painting with Sphero
Tuesday, December 27th- Light Painting with Sphero
Wednesday, December 28th- Sphero in Water 
Thursday, December 29th- Sphero Tricks
Friday, December 30th- Tips and Tricks
Saturday, December 31st- Pros and Cons

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