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iRobot Launches New Initiative to ‘SPARK’ STEM Education in the Classroom
New portal provides educators, parents and students with comprehensive resources to explore using robotics for STEM instruction and learning.
By Robotics Trends Staff - Filed Dec 09, 2009

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iRobot’s new education initiative – the Starter Programs for the Advancement of Robotics Knowledge (SPARK) – centers on a comprehensive library of robotics educational resources designed to increase interest in the subjects of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in K-12 students. Live demos are also included in the program.



iRobot Corp. (NASDAQ: IRBT) announced that it has launched a new education initiative called SPARK (Starter Programs for the Advancement of Robotics Knowledge). At http://spark.irobot.com, educators, parents and students can find robot-related resources to help build STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) curricula and use the wonder and genius of robots to inspire in students K-12 a curiosity and interest in these subjects.

“iRobot is committed to supporting STEM education in schools to revitalize the foundation of American innovation and competitiveness,” said Colin Angle, chairman and chief executive officer of iRobot. “Robots have the potential to play an integral role in learning. They excite students and can be important cogs in the teaching process, providing new ways of thinking for students by illustrating abstract concepts that were difficult to teach before their integration into the classroom.”

STEM subjects form the foundation for inspiring innovation, particularly in the technology space, and iRobot is committed to working with public school systems, universities and nonprofit organizations to help reinvigorate STEM learning through the use of robots. Educational studies have shown that the hands-on use of robots is an effective means of teaching STEM topics to K-12 students. By using robots, students have fun, teachers get to teach in new ways, and parents can learn new things along with their children.

Through SPARK, educators, parents and registered members can gain access to a comprehensive library of educational resources, including:

  • Robot-related tools, activities, events/camps and development platforms to help build STEM curricula and foster in students an appreciation and passion for STEM
  • Inspirational stories that demonstrate how robots are already making a meaningful difference in the classroom and community
  • Toys, games, crafts, projects and other cool stuff that incite creativity and encourage students to use their imagination
  • Opportunities to sign up for live robot “Demo Days” where iRobot engineers will visit classrooms to showcase some of the latest innovations in robotic technology in a hands-on, interactive environment that exposes students to the many ways robots can act as a tool for STEM learning

Educators are already applying SPARK resources to the classroom. iRobot employees have given robotics presentations to approximately 50 classrooms over the past year, and engineers recently visited an eighth grade class at Doherty Middle School in Andover, Mass. to demonstrate how the company’s robots can be used for STEM instruction and learning. Video of the robot Demo Day can be found here: http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=6114356&lang=en.

Earlier this summer, iRobot hosted the STREAM 2009 Robotics Education Workshop at its headquarters in Bedford, Mass. In partnership with the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council and the University of Massachusetts Lowell, iRobot designed the workshop to expose K-12 educators to the many ways robots can act as a tool for their STEM instruction through interactive sessions and presentations given by their peers currently utilizing robotics to successfully teach STEM subjects. iRobot continues to build on these initiatives to support its ongoing commitment to STEM education.

To register, learn more about SPARK or find robot-related tools and resources to help build STEM curricula, please visit: http://spark.irobot.com.

About iRobot Corp.
iRobot designs and builds robots that make a difference. The company’s home robots help people find smarter ways to clean, and its government and industrial robots help protect those in harm’s way. iRobot’s consumer and military robots feature iRobot AWARE® robot intelligence systems, proprietary technology incorporating advanced concepts in navigation, mobility, manipulation and artificial intelligence. For more information about iRobot, please visit http://www.irobot.com.

Contact
Nancy Smith
Media Relations
iRobot Corp.
P:  (781) 430-3323
E: 


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