Last year the popularity of the BB-8 Star Wars robot made Sphero a brand-powerhouse, now the company is following up that success with a new teaching tool that also adds a lot of fun. The company announced This week that the new SPRK+ robot is available worldwide. Designed to “inspire curiosity, creativity, and invention through connected play and coding,” the SPRK+ is big tool in a tiny package.
The new SPRK+ is powered by the Lightning Lab app, with it users can learn programming, complete hands-on activities, and share their creations with the global community.
SPRK+, in conjunction with the Lightning Lab app, is designed to teach foundational programming through STEAM activities. Both the robot and app experience promote 21st century skills through the wonders of robotics across all subject areas. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts one million more computer-science jobs than students by 2020 – making learning tools like SPRK+ crucial to today’s curriculum. Today, Sphero’s SPRK products can be found in more than 1,000 schools throughout the US and Canada, reaching more than 300,000 students.
A year ago, Sphero went full STEAM ahead into the education realm with the release of Sphero SPRK Edition. The new and improved SPRK+ takes hands-on learning up a notch with updates including several new features. Those include a new “Tap To Connect,” which enables Bluetooth SMART. The new tap-to-connect feature increases the ease of use specifically for teachers in the classroom. The new model also has a scratch-resistant shell thanks to an additional coating on the outside of the ball. Other notable features include Inductive charging, an Accelerometer and Gyroscope, it’s Shock resistant, there are Programmable sensors, and it features LED lights. The little device is also waterproof.
“If it’s a SPRK day, it’s without a doubt the best day of school for any student. SPRK+ and Lightning Lab teach students valuable skills for the future under the disguise of play,” said David Millage, General Manager of Education at Sphero. “Learning is evolving and we are seeing a transition from consumption to creation in the classroom. Our robots are being used to teach everything from art to physics in a fun and hands-on way that engage students on a new level.”
Additionally, a new and improved version of the SPRK Lightning Lab app is available for smart devices and desktop browsers. Featuring over 150 new hands-on learning activities and an improved programming canvas, coding SPRK+ robots is easier and more rewarding than ever. Programmable sensors and sounds bring a fun new dimension to coding, and a news feed feature will highlight trending content, comments and contributions. These improvements make Lightning Lab a more streamlined experience between mobile and desktop, as well as becoming an even easier social learning platform for anyone to enjoy.