iRobot has been at the forefront of several robotics movements, namely military robotics, with their PackBot line of mechanical warriors, and consumer robotics with their Roomba vacuums, Verro pool cleaning systems, and Looj gutter cleaning robots.
Today the Bedford, Mass.-based company announced an initiative aimed at educating tomorrow's innovators called SPARK
. SPARK, which stands for Starter Program for the Advancement of Robotics Knowledge is designed to help children (as well as parents and educators) discover resources to advance their knowledge of STEM or science, technology, engineering, and math.
iRobot hopes that use of robotics in the educational process will help to encourage K-12 students to increase their interest in learning more about these subjects. The theory is that the use of robots will make learning more fun for students, which in turn will help them develop a genuine interest in the STEM subject matter.
According to a press release
issued by the company today, SPARK is a portal through which parents and educators will be able to access 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.