LOS LUNAS — Just before school let out for summer break, CodeFWD by Facebook hosted an event in partnership with Los Lunas Middle School to provide new robots and programming training to students.
William Marks, the Community Development manager for Facebook, said CodeFWD by Facebook is an online training program created to cultivate interest in computer science.
“We work with teachers and students to develop the next generation of coders,” Marks said. “Teachers sign up and do the online training with their students. So right from the beginning, we have teachers and students working together.”
CodeFWD and Facebook teamed up with Sphero Edu to provide the robots. According to the website, Sphero Edu provides a set of app-enabled robots to the schools from data center communities who applied and qualified through the CodeFWD program. The set of 15 robots are used predominantly by fourth- through eighth-grade students and teachers.
Carlos Ruiz, a robotics teacher at LLMSl, said the robots given to the school will positively impact the students’ ability to learn.
“The community with Facebook is great,” Ruiz said. “They’re getting these more advanced Spheros into my students’ hands. We do have a few of the older models but really not enough to go around, so this is really going to enhance our robotics program.”
After the online training, a workshop is held to get hands-on training, which start at a basic level of coding, and allows the students to work their way up from the foundations of coding to more advanced coding.
“Some of the kids were doing block coding, which is amazing to see because that’s actually pretty advanced for the workshop,” Marks said.
While this program is targeted at STEM, there is no restriction for the teachers to be STEM teachers.
“For the online training, you can be an English teacher, and there are ... lessons on how to do robotics with English, math, physics. There are lessons for all of those different classes,” Marks said.
Ruiz said this program will benefit his students later on if they decide to continue coding.
“I really think this is going to prepare our students for the future,” Ruiz said. “As they learn block programming here, which is a more simplified form of programming, they can take those skills and apply them in high school. This is just a stepping stone to get them there.”