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Facebook teams with Sphero to bring computer science to more schools

CodeFWD aims to increase the number of underrepresented and female students learning to code.


Facebook and Sphero are offering free online computer science courses and robots for learning.

On Tuesday the social network said it's partnering with Sphero to introduce CodeFWD by Facebook, which is a free online program for educators and organizations intended to encourage more underrepresented and female students to study computer science.

CodeFWD is a three-step program offered in English and Spanish and designed to teach computer programming to fourth through eighth grade students. The program introduces the basics to educators, lets educators teach them to the students, and then has the students practice by themselves through coding exercises.

After completing CodeFWD, educators also have the option to continue teaching computer programming in classrooms by applying for a free set of Sphero programmable robots.

Facebook and Sphero will select a number of applicants from CodeFWD and provide them with a free Sphero BOLT Power Pack, which has 15 Sphero BOLT app-enabled robots and accessories to enable educators and students to have hands-on programming experience.

"We are working with underserved students so that the next generation of tech innovators better reflects who we all are, incorporating diversity and building a future that benefits us all," Facebook spokesman Todd Breasseale said in an email statement. "We have already worked with the Harlem Children's Zone, the Chicago Youth Center, Boys & Girls Clubs, Latinitas in Austin and El Paso, and others to pilot this exciting new program."