Learning to code well takes time and starting to code should be fun. I can think of no better way to begin learning to code than with the Sphero App and the Sphero Star Wars BB-8 and Sphero robots. Confusing software programming websites and apps litter the learning landscape. It is hard for any teacher, parent, or young person to find a good way to simply get started.
I set out on this journey to build GetMeCoding.com make it easy to get started.
That is where I wanted to step in and not only provide the materials to learn coding but also a helping hand. Being that helping hand got much easier with the Sphero App.
If you have a Sphero robot, Sphero BB-8, or similar droid (BB-9, R2D2, etc.) you are in the right place! But if you do not, have no fear, you are still in the right place as you read this.
What does the Sphero App do?
The Sphero App is a programming learning environment that presents you with a place to connect to a Sphero robot, create programs and save them, and work on activities created by the Sphero Community.
It is a one stop shop for building code.
How do you install the Sphero App?
Installation is quite easy once you locate it the store for your device.
It does not run in a web browser at this time which means it has to be installed on each device.
This is something teachers who manage computing labs or classrooms need to keep in mind as you will need to ensure it runs on your computers and gets updates as needed.
The problem I encountered was my Windows PC was several years old. Even though it had a Bluetooth transmitter, the hardware wouldn’t see the Sphero BB-8. A software driver update would not fix this issue.
What programming can you do with the Sphero App?
This allows you to quickly see results and then the code that makes it happen.
What are the most fundamental concepts programmers know?
In my BB-8 Coding Course, I introduce you to three important concepts that are part of almost every program: loops, conditionals, and variables.
Loops which allow for controlling the number of times an activity takes place are part of many automation processes.
Conditionals, which appear as IF-THEN-ELSE statements/blocks check to see what is happening and if it is, then do something.
Variables are temporary storage containers that hold numerical, text, or logical values for you to manipulate.
I cover these in more detail in my course. They are short easy to follow videos that I explain and then follow up with a demonstration of them using the coding blocks.
A Perfect Tool For Beginning to Learn How To Code
I like the Sphero App.
Having developed software for over 30 years, taught technology classes for over 20 years, tutored afterschool students and middle school STEM events, I like how it makes learning to create code accessible.
It builds confidence.
The software tools that professionals use, are where you want to get to but not start with.
This tool makes coding fun. Working with a Star Wars droid makes it even better!
Have fun coding and exploring!!
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If you are a teacher or someone looking to help others learn to code, let me help you.