Over 205,000 students have programmed a Finch due to the loan program.
Currently, 1000 robots are pledged to the program for the 2020-2021 school year.
Over 1300 organizations have participated in the Finch loan program since 2013.
We are currently lending out the original Finch Robot, which is tethered to the computer with a USB cord and works with computers and Chromebooks only (it does not work with tablets/phones). If you are interested in borrowing the new Finch Robot 2.0, which is wireless and works with computers, Chromebooks, and tablets/phones, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll let you know when that program is available.
The application for the 2020-2021 school year is open. We will be awarding loans on a rolling basis this year. Since school schedules are up in the air, we want to retain flexibility to adapt to teachers’ changing needs. Before you apply please read the program requirements, criteria for loan selection, and FAQs.
- Use the robots in pair programming. This means 2 students work with 1 Finch robot at a time. If the largest class you will use the robots with is 30 students, you should apply for a loan of 15 robots.
- Reach at least 5 students per robot. So, if you borrow 10 Finches, at least 50 students need to work with them over the course of the loan period.
- Have one computer (desktops, laptops, or Chromebooks; tablets are not compatible with the Finch) available per Finch you will borrow.
- Give us feedback by answering our post-loan survey and sending us curriculum you create, so we can host it on our website for the benefit of other organizations using the Finches.
- Invest time in teacher training by perusing our website and preparing lessons, in order to effectively run programming with the Finch robots.
A Strong Plan for Using the Finches
Our top criteria for selection will be the strength of your plan for using the Finch robots. We have found that the strongest loan recipients are the ones that apply for the program with a concrete plan for
- How they will use the robots, including examples of specific activities they are planning.
- How often they will use the robots. We especially favor programs using the Finches in multiple classes or settings (e.g. in the school library with multiple classes coming to use the Finches each day, both during the school day and after school, both in classroom and in community settings.)
- How teachers will prepare to use the robots.
The loan program is designed to expand the reach of our robots to populations who may have limited access to computer science. Thus, we will give precedence to organizations that
- Serve populations traditionally under-represented in computer science (e.g. girls, minorities, rural areas)
- Have a large number of students in free/reduced lunch programs.
- Reach a large number of students.
We also believe programming is a fundamental and basic skill, not an advanced topic. We understand that many districts set up specific “gifted and talented” programs. We will consider applications from GATE teachers, but we prefer to see applications that will democratically use the robots across student populations. If you are a GATE teacher, please include ways for your students to share the robots with their peers, community members, or younger students.
Libraries & schools act as great equalizers by providing resources to people in the community who may not have access to tools for computer science learning at home. Thus, we will favor applications that show a level of community engagement using the robots:
- At Maker Faires or other community festivals.
- At conferences, EdCamps, or other professional development events.
- With older students teaching younger students, or other types of mentoring relationships.