Sphero NewsAmanda Vaden
Sphero & SAS 2021 Commitment to CSForAll

Each year pivotal members of the STEM and computer science education community come together to make inspirational commitments through the CSForAll movement. The CSForAll mission is to “make high-quality computer science an integral part of the educational experience of all K-12 students and teachers and to support student pathways to college and career success.” 

With that mission in mind, this year Sphero is teaming up with SAS to empower educators across the country to learn how they can implement computer science education for students with visual impairments with Sphero BOLT and SAS® CodeSnaps braille blocks. 

Watch below to see it in action! 

The Importance of Accessibility in Computer Science, Coding and STEM Education 

Accessible learning is important because every student deserves the opportunity to receive a quality education. Students with visual impairments have historically struggled with computer science and coding classes due to the need for a screen or device. With technology being a part of our everyday lives and the need for today’s students to be technologically literate, coding and computer science, as well as other STEM subjects, need to be more accessible and inclusive. 

The coding skills students learn through computer science and STEM transcend subject matter and translate into all areas of school and life. Skills like communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity (also known as the 4 Cs) are achieved through coding, so it’s crucial for it to be available to all students. 

How SAS CodeSnaps Braille Blocks and Sphero BOLT Work Hand-in-Hand 

In the spirit of the CSForAll movement and creating a collaborative coding environment for all students, SAS CodeSnaps braille blocks make it possible to code Sphero BOLT through a screenless interface. Students with visual impairments can get hands-on with SAS CodeSnaps, discover coding commands in braille, and “snap” the blocks together to create a program for Sphero BOLT. Then, an educator or supervisor takes a photo of the SAS CodeSnaps program with a device like a tablet or phone, and uploads it to the SAS CodeSnaps app to send the students’ instructions to the robot. 

In this coding activity from Perkins eLearning, students from Governor Morehead School for the Blind were tasked with determining the commands needed for their Sphero robot to successfully navigate a course: travel to the trash can, go around (behind) the trash can, then cross the start/finish line. They then used SAS CodeSnaps braille blocks to construct a program to guide their robot through the course. What’s more, the students placed red plastic cups over the robots for auditory feedback on where their robot was in the course so that when the bots bumped into an obstacle or reached the finish line, they made a noise!

How To Get Involved

Sphero and SAS are collaborating this year for CSForAll commitments.

SAS is hosting a free, virtual workshop called “Collaborative Coding for ALL Students” for educators who are interested in learning more about how to implement a computer science program for their students with visual impairments, like the example highlighted above. Four participants will be selected to receive a SAS CodeSnaps Kit that includes two Sphero BOLT robots, three sets of SAS CodeSnaps braille blocks, and a meter stick (a $320 value!) to use at their school. 

  • When: November 3, 2021, 2-4pm EDT
  • Where: Online - register below!
  • Cost: FREE

Register and learn more about the workshop here.

Better Together: The Bigger Picture Impact 

The CSForAll movement is a wonderful opportunity to highlight partners coming together to improve the quality of education for all students. We’re proud to partner with SAS this year to help students with learning differences and impairments embrace STEM and computer science through fun, hands-on experiences. Collectively, we can work to provide #CSForAll.

To learn more about SAS, please visit https://www.sas.com/en_us/home.html

To learn more about the CSForAll movement, please visit https://www.csforall.org/.

To explore Sphero’s programmable robots, STEM kit, and more, please visit https://sphero.com/

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