Students and teachers can apply to receive a free robot in the mail from Facebook and Sphero (the creator of the Star Wars BB-8 toy). The bolt robot is part of Facebook’s CodeFWD program, its latest attempt at getting kids passionate about coding.
By having this kind of fun technology in schools across the nation, Facebook hopes that underrepresented groups in technology will gain access and build interest in the industry at a younger age.
Right now the program is available for fourth through eighth-grade classes being led by credentialed teachers as well as registered non-profits with internet and computer access.
More details of the program can be found on Facebook’s newly launched Facebook For Education website, which serves to bridge computer science programs with educational programs that encourage them.
Although these programs and efforts are a clear investment in Facebooks public brand and in communities that it is reaching out to, it’s also an investment in the future of Facebook (and technology in general). These kids will grow up with a deep familiarity and longstanding knowledge of the importance and presence of coding and other parts of computer science that will make them great potential candidates for employment.
Right now, the CodeFWD program has been piloted at the Harlem Children’s Zone and Austin’s Latinitas according to TechCrunch.