The robots have taken over! Well, they’ve heavily influenced this week’s education app review, in any case, as we take a look at Tickle, the simple robot programming app for iPad…
What is Tickle for iPad?
Tickle (Tickle Labs, Inc, free) is a free app that lets you program a wide variety of robots through a simple programming language and drag and drop visual interface, then control them from an iPad. Just some of the ‘bots and systems controllable by Tickle include the Sphero robotic ball, a wide variety of flyable drones, the Arduino open-source electronic prototyping platform and Philips Hue smart home lighting. You can also program interactive stories and simple games using a library of animated characters and sounds.
How can it benefit the classroom?
What we’ve been really interested in is using Tickle with the Sphero robotic ball (if you’re new to Sphero, have a recap on why we love it here). It provides a simple way to cover off some of the key aspects laid out in the computing curriculum, including: understanding what algorithms are, how they are implemented as programs on digital devices; that programs execute by following precise and unambiguous instructions; creating and debugging simple programs, and using logical reasoning to predict the behaviour of simple programs.
A good lesson plan, for example, is navigating a simple maze using both Sphero and Tickle. Mark out lines on the floor using tape, then get pupils to move the Sphero ball across the maze, while describing the movement and location by coding the sequence (there may be a bit of trial and error involved in the programming). It’s a really fun, creative and collaborative way to solve mathematical problems.
What’s the best feature?
What we probably like most about Tickle is just how easy it is for pupils to pick up, get programming, then start controlling robots in just a few minutes. It’s all done through a colourful visual programming language, whereby pupils can simply drag and drop blocks of commands to string sequences together (if you’ve ever used Sphero MacroLab or the Scratch language before, you’ll be right at home with this).
Where can I get it?
Tickle (Tickle Labs, Inc, free) is completely free, and you can download it from the App Store on your iPad, or by heading to iTunes. If you’d like to know more about Sphero, get in touch with the team on the details below.
– Missed last week’s app review? Catch up with our thoughts on BandLab for iPad here!
Want to know more about our favourite apps and Apple iPad for the classroom? Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 306, email education@Jigsaw24.com, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter for all the latest technology in education news, reviews and articles.