I’ve been doing a ton of thinking alongside a colleague named Kevin Coulter lately. Kevin is a longtime math teacher who as recently transitioned into an instructional technology facilitator role in our building. Most recently, Kevin was pitching me on a robotics club that he is starting in our building.
In the course of that conversation, he mentioned that he’d bought a Sphero 2.0 for his six year old son to tinker with — and he talked me into buying one for my six year old daughter.
I can’t wait for the Sphero to get here for a ton of reasons.
Perhaps most importantly, it will give my daughter some early experiences with coding and programming — skills that I am convinced will be difference makers by the time that she grows up. I’ve had her tinkering with Scratch Junior over the past year, but she’s never been all that motivated by moving an imaginary cat around a screen. My hope is that the Sphero rumbling around the living room or the backyard will be far more motivating because it is tangible — she can see it and feel it working in a way that just isn’t possible with Scratch.
What I’m most excited about, though, is that the Sphero will give my daughter a thousand opportunities to fail without risk.
She’s going to write flawed instructions time-and-time again. The Sphero won’t move at all — or it will go too far or too fast or too slow to do whatever it is that she’s trying to get it to do. It will make wrong turns and end up stuck under the couch. It’s bound to knock over a few drinks sitting on the carpet. Who knows, it might even bounce off of Nana’s shins a few times instead of going straight through her legs.