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Sphero: the coolest robot around

This week, the wonderful people at Orbotix sent me a Sphero to try out and play with. HOLY COW, I haven’t had so much fun with a new toy in a long time. The better part of today was spent learning about the Sphero and stealthily “driving” it into classrooms (much to the delight of kids). Sphero is a robotic ball that gets controlled by iPhone, iPad, or android device. I had it rolling all over school this morning…I only wish I had thought ahead to record student reactions (I was using my iPhone to control it and didn’t think about video and pictures). I had so much fun with it, that I brought it home to play and learn some more. It is equally loved by my dogs! Sphero seems like a simple concept, a ball that can be controlled via tablet or phone. Even though the concept is simple, I have to admit, I’m pretty floored by the way that this little ball moves around effortlessly as if by magic. We have a hallway in our school that includes an incline and it rolled up it without any trouble, like a champ! It is SO much more than a fun rolley ball. There are a slew of apps that interact with the Sphero making it ultra fun and educational. The majority of apps available are totally free to download. There are a few that cost $0.99. Apps include: Sphero Nyan Cat Space Party- Even if you have no idea what Nyan cat is, your students will. They will think it is awesome. Sphero Dark Nebula Episode One- A labyrinth game for the 21st century. Sphero Dark Nebula Episode Two- Defeat obstacles and enemies using your Sphero. Sphero- the app I played with all day. This app drives Sphero and teaches it (and you) new tricks with basics of coding. GoGo Mongo- Designed to teach toddlers and primary students healthy eating habits. Sphero Exile- Arcade-like space-fighter game. But with real life actions! Sphero Draw N’ Drive- Use your finger on the tablet or phone to draw a shape or path and watch Sphero follow it. Sphero MacroLab (great for education!)- Learn basics of programming by arranging simple commands and settings in any combination. Save favorite programs and share them with friends. Sphero TAG- A great tag game when you have access to more than one Sphero. Zombie Roller- A zombie app. Need I say more? Sphero Lights- Basically the coolest night-light ever. Keep the Sphero lit even when charging. Last Fish- Try surviving as a fish in toxic water filled with goo and shadow fish. The goal: survive. Sphero Macro Draw- Draw using your Sphero robot. DJ Sphero- Go ahead and be a party rock star with Sphero. Load tracks from your iPad/iPhone music library . Cross fade between songs and speed up or slow down music by spinning your sphere robot. Basically you will be the star of the lunch room. Astro Ball- An arcade-syle 3D flight simulator. Sphero Golf- I played this one as soon as I got home. Create a physical golf course and then virtually control Sphero to make it into the holes that you create. Hit Sphero with either a flick of the finger, or (for more fun) by swinging your arms while holding your tablet/phone. Sphero Cam- Currently Android only. Use the built-in camera on Android to record video with Sphero. orbBasic for Sphero- This is a great app for learning and practicing program. Students can execute basic programs and create and prototype autonomous behaviors for their Sphero robot. Sphero H2O- For real, this robot can be played with IN water!! This is a game for a summer pool party. Etch-o-matic- 21st century toy makes drawings like it is 1965. LOVE this app! Brings me right back to about 1987 when I sat in the back seat of the Jetta on the way to Grandmas. Just like an etch-a-sketch, only better. Sphero Snake- Classic Snake game brought to life. Disc Groove- Control your Sphero to avoid being hit by “flying meteors” Doodle Grub- A new twist on the classic Snake game. Lots of fun. Sphero Pet- Wishing you had a class pet? Sphero fits the bill well without being overwhelming. Kids can teach it to shake, flip and move in any direction. Pass the Sphero- A game of dare for multiple players where Sphero becomes a ticking time-bomb. Lots of fun when there is lots of snow and recess has to occur inside. Sphero Measuring Tape (AWESOME, measuring our Anastasis Academy garden!) Virtual measuring tape. Amazingly accurate. Our kids have been learning Area/Perimeter and using the Anastasis Academy garden as a learning space. Sphero helped verify their calculations. Sharky the Beaver- Sphero turns into an augmented reality beaver that you can interact with. Sphero ColorGrab- A multiplayer tabletop game. Sphero flashes colors and you have to pick him up at the right time to earn points. Best indoor recess ever! Sphero Chromo- Like an old-school Simon game for this little robot. Makes me a little nostalgic for my childhood. The Rolling Dead- an augmented reality game featuring zombies. Not sure how it gets better than using Sphero as a fireball to shoot virtual zombies. Anastasis Academy backs to a cemetery where the teachers walk/jog after school. I’m pretty sure the Rolling Dead/Sphero combo will be a welcome addition to our exercise. The Sphero apps the are available to download range from just plain fun, to serious learning capability and augmented reality. There are so many possibilities with this little robot and, it seems, that the apps and abilities of this little robot will only continue to grow. This robot is resilient. It can stand up to dogs, water, outdoors, hills, etc. Truly so magical and amazing! I dig technology that effortlessly blends real world with imagination and technology. Sphero definitely fits this bill in ways that I haven’t seen before. I’m excited to dig into Sphero Education to try out the STEM lessons that can be used with Sphero with students. I’ll be sure to blog our progress through them! Stay tuned.  

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Timelapse: 3 decades of photo imagery of the world

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Evaluate, History, Language Arts, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Understand (describe, explain), video, Virtual Field Trips, Websites | Posted on 20-01-2014

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Timelapse: a satellite veiw of the earth (iLearn Technology)

What it is:  Timelapse is an incredible visual satellite timeline powered by Google.  Timelapse is about as close as you can get to a time machine, if that time machine hovered above the earth and gave you a bird’s eye view of development and change. Students can choose from some highlighted Timelapse views including: Las Vegas, Dubai, Shanghai, Oil Sands, Mendenhall Glacier, Wyoming Coal, Columbia Glacier, and Lake Urmia.  Alternatively, students can use the search box to view a satellite timelapse of any place in the world. Students can change the speed of the timelapse, pause the satellite imagery, and zoom in or zoom out.  The imagery begins in 1984 and goes through 2012.

How to use Timelapse in your classroom: Timelapse would be a fantastic way to begin an inquiry unit. The site itself sparks lots of questions.  Depending on the location, students may inquire into climate change, history, development, expansion, human impact on land, satellites, etc. Timelapse could also be used in science classes and history classes. This is a great tool for students to use to analyze and evaluate visual data.

Timelapse would be a neat way to explore history of the world from a completely different perspective.  Students could use Timelapse as a creative writing prompt to imagine the world from a new perspective. What changes when you aren’t down in the midst of life on earth? Do problems appear different? Does success get measured differently?

Tips: Below the Timelapse map, students can read about how satellites are used to capture the imagery they are exploring. Well worth the read!  It is also separated into “Chapters” that each tell a larger story about the featured Timelapses.

 

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Comments (1)

Thank you for sharing your blog. I never knew that it was called a timelapse. This is a great idea to be used in the classroom.

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