A few weeks ago I was speaking with Joyce Valenza's students about Augmented Reality and we got on the topic of Spheros and how they can be used in schools. I talked to them about how I had used them with my students. (If you want to read more about that click here for a previous blog post I did on the topic) While talking with these students it dawned on me that the Sphero 2.0 is waterproof and I wonder how it would work with our swim students at the high school.
I contacted the swim teacher Marv Alexander @marvalexander1 and asked him if he would not mind giving this idea a try. I was so happy that he did not think I was totally insane and was willing to be a risk taker and try out this idea of using a mini robot in a swim class.
Today I brought the Sphero over to the pool and we gave it a try. We decided to try it out first without students in the pool, so that we could get a better idea of just how it worked. After pairing the Sphero up Marv's Ipad and getting him used to driving it, we threw it in the water. It floats on top of the water and you can move it around the pool from your Ipad using the Sphero App. We tried it with and without the Nubby and found it to be a little slow in the water, but it could be that we just have not trained the Sphero via the Sphero app to go faster.
One of the things we were trying to figure out is if we could use it to pace a swimmer. After experimenting with it a little we realized that it might not be able to do that, it is a little to slow. But there are some beginner swimmers and they might benefit for something like this because it might just be a little different way to motivate them.
We did experiment a little with the Color Grab App and we think it could possible work as a game where the students have to swim to the Sphero or jump in and grab it.
I have an email out to some of the people I have worked with at Sphero, hoping they can help us come up with ideas on how to use it it in a swim class. I am hoping that they will help us come up with some ways we have not thought of.
I would also love your ideas and thoughts!
Over the next few weeks we will be experimenting with it and I will be documenting what we figure out here.
Hope this experiment works!
Elissa Malespina is the Middle School Teacher Librarian in Somerville and a Presenter, Author and much more. The views are my own. Find my full resume above.