Programmable Robots

What are Programmable Robots?

Programmable robots are a technology that you are able to program in order to make your robot interact with you or its surrounding environment. There are a variety of ways you can make your robot ‘go’, whether through coding (block coding, typed coding, etc.), through push-button commands, or by drawing a path for your robot to follow. Using many devices such as laptops, desktop computers, iPads, tablets or smartphones, you are given full reign of your robot’s movements. Programmable robots appeal to a wide range of ages, grade levels, and subjects.

Getting Started with Programmable Robots

Types of Programmable Robots


Sphero is a programmable robot that moves and lights up. It connects students to the world of programming and robotics in a simple and fun way. Get the Sphero Edu app on iTunes or the Google Play Store.

Other Sphero Models: BB8, Ollie, SPRK 2.0, SPRK+, SPRK mini

Other Robots 

  • Dash & Dot
  • Ozobot
  • Beebot

Curriculum Connections

Not sure how to integrate Programmable Robots into your teaching plan? Check our list of Ontario curriculum connections for suggestions.

Programmable Robots in the Maker Lab

Maya Staresinic, our programmable robot guru, explains how programmable robots can be utilized to create rich learning experiences in any makerspace!


Programmable Robots in the “Real World”

Industry Connections

With the rise of industries like technology, there are many industrial connections that can be made and linked to programmable robots and coding. Displaying these industrial connections to our students will better help them put their learning into context, link their learning to real-world applications, and answer the question: “why are we doing this?” Robots can be found in many sectors across the country, from health care to customer service. By allowing our students to engage with programmable robots while in the safety of our schools, we are setting them up for success once they enter the real world. Learning how robots move, how they are programmed, and how they interact with the environment around them will give students the necessary skills to succeed in our ever-changing world.

Example Industrial Connections:


  • Automotive – Robots are used to manufacture cars.
  • Packaging – Many plants use robots to make their packing process faster and to not use as much manpower.

Health Care

  • Robots assist with procedures and/or surgeries.
  • They allow doctors to operate with precision.

Space Sector of Canada

  • When travelling up to space, astronauts use various robotic equipment to essentially make their lives easier.
  • Programming the spaceship to travel a certain distance, to a certain location, for a certain amount of time.


  • Factories use machines/robots that make the process of creating materials, consumables, parts, and objects more efficient.

Robots are found in our everyday lives! Chances are you are somewhere in the vicinity of a robot right now!


Kurkovsky, S. (2013). Mobile Computing and Robotics in One Course: Why Not? Retrieved from

Timberdoodle Co. (2016) SPRK Lessons. Retrieved from