Loan Program Application Requirements

Ali Partovi, co-founder of, tests out the Finches at loan program recipient Oakland Unified School District

Thanks for your interest in the Finch robot loan program. We are excited to be loaning out 1200 Finch Robots for the 2018-2019 school year! Before you apply please read the program requirements, criteria for loan selection, and FAQs. These will help you prepare the strongest application possible.

Program Requirements

  • Use the robots in pair programming. This means 2 students work with 1 Finch robot at a time. If the largest class you will use the robots with is 30 students, you should apply for a loan of 15 robots.
  • Reach at least 5 students per robot. So, if you borrow 10 Finches, at least 50 students need to work with them over the course of the loan period.
  • Have one computer (desktops, laptops, or Chromebooks; tablets are not compatible with the Finch) per Finch you will borrow.
  • Give us feedback by answering our post-loan survey and sending us curriculum you create, so we can host it on our website for the benefit of other organizations using the Finches.
  • Invest time in teacher training by perusing our website and preparing lessons, in order to effectively run programming with the Finch robots.

Criteria for Loan Selection

A Strong Plan for Using the Finches

Our top criteria for selection will be the strength of your plan for using the Finch robots. We have found that the strongest loan recipients are the ones that apply for the program with a concrete plan for

  • How they will use the robots, including examples of specific activities they are planning.
  • How often they will use the robots. We especially favor programs using the Finches in multiple classes or settings (e.g. both during the school day and after school, both in class and in community settings.)
  • How teachers will be trained and will prepare to use the robots.

Reaching Students

The loan program is designed to expand the reach of our robots to populations who may have limited access to computer science. Thus, we will give precedence to organizations that

  • Serve populations traditionally under-represented in computer science (e.g. girls, minorities, rural areas) 
  • Have a large number of students in free/reduced lunch programs.
  • Reach a large number of students. 

We also believe programming is a fundamental and basic skill, not an advanced topic. We will favor applications that share the robots equally between students, i.e. if any student in a given grade is provided this opportunity, all of their peers in that grade should receive it as well. We understand that many districts set up specific "gifted and talented" programs. We will consider applications from GATE teachers, but we prefer to see applications that will democratically use the robots across student populations. If you are a GATE teacher, please consider adding ways for your students to share the robots with their peers, community members, or younger students.

Community Engagement

We are hoping to see organizations use the loan program to help their students and communities become creators, not just consumers of technology. Libraries & schools act as great equalizers by providing resources to people in the community who may not have access to tools for computer science learning at homeThus, we will favor applications that show a level of community engagement using the robots:

  • At Maker Faires or other community festivals.
  • At conferences demonstrating how to use the robots to enage in computer science learning.
  • With older students teaching younger students, or other types of mentoring relationships.
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