Finch Robot Loan Program
At Birdbrain Technologies we are firm believers that all kids should have the chance to learn coding and computational thinking skills. We aim to provide diverse access to our robots and get them in front of all students, so they can begin to imagine, create, and expand their exposure to computer science.
The Finch robot loan program is one avenue for us to broaden the reach of our robots and inspire young coders across the country. The program began in 2014 as a contribution to Computer Science Education Week and Code.org's Hour of Code initiative. Our goal was to catalyze coding and computer science learning experiences for students who might not ordinarily have the opportunity to program a robot as part of their typical classroom experience. During 2014 we loaned out hundreds of Finch robots to school districts across the country and reached over 15,000 students.
Building on the success of our initial loan program and in an effort to extend the reach of our robots, in 2015 we expanded the loan program to serve not only schools, but also libraries. Libraries play a crucial role in bridging the learning gap between home and school, and providing broad access to innovative resources. Currently the Chicago Public Library and the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh have fleets of Finch robots available for public use. We are so excited to see over 200 Finches being used in public library programs across the country through our loan program in 2015!
The 2015-2016 loan program has been expanded and will be loaning out 850 robots to schools, libraries, and other organizations helping kids learn to program. We will loan out robots in sets of 10 in 2 month periods throughout the 2015-2016 school year, as well as summer 2016. We anticipate that the robots will be used by over 20,000 more students!
To ensure that teachers, librarians, and volunteers are prepared to use the Finches when they arrive, we are creating a number of sample activities in the spirit of the Hour of Code project. Our activities will take anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours to complete, and are designed to be accessible to anyone, even novice programmers. We strongly encourage loan program participants to contribute their own activities, so that the knowledge base around using the Finches continues to grow.
We hope that the Finch robot loan program will engage and inspire kids around the country to learn coding and computational thinking skills. Please encourage your schools and libraries to apply in the Spring of 2016!