For full details on enrollment see the FAQ below or call - 083 8513319

Coding, Robotics & 3d Design for 8-17 year olds

Enrollment for our half-school-year term is made simple – with easy with monthly payments of €39.50. Students can decide to take a break after the term finishes or continue to the next level. Laptops and tablets are supplied in class. The cost of tuition and the purchase of the take-home robotics kit, 3d printed designs, coding and design apps are all included in the monthly payment plan. Classes are held fortnightly for 1 hour and 10 minutes for the duration of term. We will make some additional spaces available for September term shortly. Please join the waiting list and we will contact you when a space becomes available.

About us

We believe the best way to prepare students for jobs that don’t yet exist is to bridge the gap between the creative and the engineering mind. Our programs are developed by our own engineers and educationalists to help future engineers think like artists and vice versa. 

Sparkademy is now running for its third year, with many of the original students still coming to work on cool projects with their peers. In addition to design and robotics we are currently developing programs in IOT Game Development and Music Technology. What do you want to make today?

Deirdre Flynn, Athlone - Aug 2019
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"Enda is so looking forward to getting back into the swing of it again! 😀 He had an amazing time at the summer camp. Thank you for everything."
Ber Carroll, Portlaoise Aug 2019
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"Frankie was busy all summer creating and coming up with ideas. Thank you all so much for the work you do, it's fantastic for kids like Frankie who have the creative mind and just need the tools and encouragement to develop it. Frankie can't wait to get back to classes"
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Why enroll with Sparkademy?

Home play and learning

Our club members have already demonstrated amazing creativity during and after 2018/2019 term – building video games and working on design projects at home between fortnightly classes and during holiday breaks. Next term we will bring this one step further by providing a bring-home robotics kit. Now students can play with what they’ve made in class (shh – don’t tell them they’re still learning!).

Design Thinking

Students will design and 3d print components to add functionality to their robots. Design Thinking  is a process of creating and testing innovative ideas to improve a product or solve existing problems. With 3d printing students can touch and feel their designs -so they can think like real designers and problem solvers.

Secondary school Computer Science curriculum

A pilot Computer Science program has recently  been launched in secondary schools. It focuses on problem solving and building skills in Design Thinking. Our program provides a foundation for later academic years –  engaging  students in interesting hands-on projects. The key to successful Computer Science learning is  better engagement through hands-on and take-home projects. Additionally we teach Design Thinking principles through 3d printing, and apply that learning to students’ coding and robotics projects. Younger students learn Computer Science basics through drag-and-drop block based coding, while older students can switch to programming in Python when they are ready. 


Our classes

Juniors (8-9) yr olds

The junior age group includes 8-9 year olds. While students of all age groups can bring home their own robotics projects, the junior group will make fun art and animatronics projects to discover the possibilities of 3d printing and basic robotics.
Our FAQ below gives a detailed description of the program and learning outcomes.

Seniors & Teens

The senior primary aged group (10-13) will get more in depth in robotics and 3d printing. Students will work on interesting autonomous vehicles projects using block coding. This curriculum was inspired by our engineer, Daniel - who invented the Neurocar - a gesture controlled vehicle that empowers people with physical disabilities. The Teens group is for secondary aged students (13-17), which will be similar in content, with a focus on preparing for the secondary school Computer Science curriculum., including an introduction to Python programming. Our FAQ below gives a detailed description of the program and learning outcomes.

Your instructor

Your instructor in Tullamore, Athlone, Mullingar and Portlaoise will be Daniel, an accomplished engineer and inventor of the Neurocar. Daniel has an excellent rapport with students - using his inventor mindset to bring the best out of the class.

FAQ

Most frequent questions and answers

We begin classes teaching all the concepts from the beginning, so no previous coding or design experience is required.

For now only Portlaoise, Mullingar, Athlone and Tullamore. Other clubs are on hold temporarily.

Autumn term begins mid / late September. You can login to your parent account at any time to see the list of dates for classes. Alternatively you can see the term dates on our booking page.

The monthly cost is €39.50. There are 6 monthly payments in total. This represents extremely good value for money as we include circa  €150 worth of bring-home kit and software. The monthly fee also includes the cost of fortnightly classes.

We provide laptops and tablets in class. Our 3d design app can run on tablets, as can a basic version of our coding app. This is suitable for students in the Juniors class. We recommend that a tablet (or laptop) is made available for students to tinker with at home so they can leverage their fun and learning. For older students we recommend a laptop (available to use at home) rather than tablet, as it is easier to work on more advanced challenges with laptops. Students are welcome to bring laptops and tablets into class which will reduce their setup / logging in time. All our apps are cloud enabled and students can save their work from any device and log in later at home.

Payment is debited from your card on the first of every month. The minimum commitment for this program is for the duration of the term which finishes late January / early February. Last payment will be taken on the 1st of February (6 payments total). We require full commitment for the duration of the program in order for the system to work effectively (purchase of hardware, software and consumables). First payment is 1st September. If you register after 1st September a covering charge will be added to your first month’s payment. If you wish to continue after February your subscription will continue as normal. If you wish to opt out after completion of the first term please write an email to [email protected] and we will cease your subscription once the first term is paid in full.

There is no action to be taken on your part. Subscriptions will be updated before September 1st billing.

The kit is based around the award winning mbot robot by Makeblock, suitable for ages 8+.

Also included:

Hardware

  • Additional building beams and brackets
  • Custom design 3d printed parts
  • LiPo battery add-on
  • Line following sensor
  • Ultrasonic sensor 
  • LED display
  • Light sensor
  • IR remote control c/w On-board IR sender & receiver
  • On-board push button
  • On-board LED lights
  • On-board buzzer
  • 2 DC motors with repair kit
 

Software

  • Award winning 3d design app
  • Programmable tablet app for introductory learning challenges, programmable remote controller
  • Mblock 5 programming app for laptops (laptops provided in class)
 
 
Senior (primary) and Teens (secondary school)

Although the program contains a lot of topics, because of the range of coding and design opportunities available, it contains lots of challenges centered around learning how to program your robot as an autonomous car. We will have lots of exciting projects to engage in building new skills. Examples include slowing down coming up to bends, slow down and turn on lights automatically in tunnels, follow diversion signal from road signalling system, slow down and change lanes when there is a broken down car blocking the lane ahead, return to the original lane after 5 seconds. Protect car with remote security code, sound alarm if the car is moved by thieves. Automatically find empty parking spots, and park there. Automatically park with parallel parking,  Adjust car speed automatically with adaptive cruise control. Older students will have the opportunity to learn Python in the same coding environment by switching over from block based programming with one-click. Show off your 3d design prowess by creating your own unique sumo-bot battle winning attachment.

Coding techniques: Learn how to use subroutines to simplify your program. Practice using variables, “if-then-else” blocks, and loops in code. Learn how to read and use data from Ultrasonic, line following, light and IR sensors. Learn how to control motors, led display, LED lights and output different sound frequencies Learn how to send and receive messages between robots.

Design techniques: Learn how to design and 3d print parts for your robot. The video below shows our 3d design app in action.

Juniors (8-9 yrs)

Learn how to make your robotic pet; use sensors, lights and sound to personalize its reaction to different stimuli. Make a spirograph drawing machine, take it home and reprogram it to create an endless variety of designs. Code your robot for a line following race. Custom design and 3d print parts for your robotic pet. Program your robot to navigate an obstacle course with tunnels and bridges. Make mega patterns through code by turning your robot into a draw-car.  Learn to program  the remote controls on your robot to win a balloon fight competition.

Coding techniques: Practice  “if-then-else” blocks, and loops in code. Learn how to read and use data from Ultrasonic, line following, light and IR sensors. Learn how to control motors, led display, LED lights and output different sound frequencies.

Design techniques: Learn how to design and 3d print parts for your robot.