Herkimer educator named ‘Sphero Hero’

Teacher gestures while talking to student

Herkimer Central School District has been recognized for its use of technology in education in a global program that recognizes STEM innovators.

Technology coordinator Ryan Orilio was named a 2019 “Sphero Hero” by Sphero, a company that creates small, remote-powered robots for use in education.

According to the Sphero website, “The Sphero Heroes program recognizes pioneer teachers who use Sphero app-enabled robots to transform teaching and learning in their classrooms and beyond.”

Orilio introduced Sphero robots to Herkimer more than 2 years ago. The district now has about 40 robots distributed between the elementary school and Jr./Sr. High School buildings for teachers to use.

Small spherical robot is seen at close range on the carpet of a classroom

Paired with a mobile app, the robots give students the chance to learn coding and robotics, but a range of other activities are possible, Orilio explained. At Herkimer, Spheros have created art, done battle and raced on water and land, among other activities.

Orilio is one of only three Sphero Heroes chosen from New York state. The 28 “Heroes” include educators in 12 foreign countries as well as from across the United States.

As a Sphero Hero, Orilio will have the opportunity to provide input on product development and professional learning, and to receive year-round support from the company.

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