By Misty Yerdon
“Books are just the beginning” at the Northern Onondaga Public Library (NOPL). You can already borrow streaming media and virtual reality devices, thermal leak detectors and even garden plots from the library. But there is an exciting new addition to NOPL’s collection of “unusual items:” Sphero robots.
The robots are best suited for third grade and up, although younger children can use the technology with the help of an adult. The robots will help children and young adults engage with technology in a fun, interactive way, helping to teach valuable skills such as coding.
“Coding is an important skill, because software is now everywhere, and it’s important to have some understanding of how our computers, phones, toys, cars and other devices work,” said Children’s Librarian Nicole Hershberger. “Even if you don’t become a professional programmer or work in technology directly, it’s good to understand more about how your world works.
“More importantly,” she said, “learning to code teaches you how to think logically, how to break down problems into steps, how to troubleshoot unexpected issues, and how to be persistent and patient when solving a problem. Those are skills that are applicable in all areas of life.”
A smartphone or tablet equipped with Bluetooth is needed to use the robots. Free apps that you can download to your device allow you to connect with the robots and control their actions.
More kits that introduce the concepts of coding and programming will be added soon, including Makey Makey devices and Dash & Dot robots.
The Sphero robots are at the NOPL Cicero library, but may be requested and picked up at any NOPL location and borrowed for one week. For more information on the robots or to place a hold request, stop in at the NOPL Cicero library or give them a call at (315) 699-2032.