Back to School Checklist for your Firia Labs teaching

Author: Kevin Banks, Firia Chief Technology Officer

Don't Blame the Messenger ...




For many teachers, their immediate reaction to the dreaded phrase “Back to School” is something like this famous picture (one of a series, I recently found) by artist Edvard Munch:

Source: The Scream

(If this resonates with you, be sure to check out the full article at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Scream)


At Firia Labs, we “get it” (we really do!) and although we couldn’t stop summer from ending, we can at least have your back by offering up our (drumroll please)…


Firia Lab's Top 8+1 Tips for Back to School


Tip Number 1 - Take Inventory

  • Do you have enough CodeBots and/or CodeX for your expected class size?

  • Do all the units still have their USB cables?

  • Do you have enough batteries?

  • Some kits come with external sensors / speakers / LEDs - are all the parts still there?

To make that last bullet a little more specific - if you have JumpStart and/or Explorer kits, do you still have all of your:

  • speakers?

  • thermistors?

  • light sensors?

  • alligator clips?


Tip Number 2 - Restock as needed

Now that you know what is needed, head on over to firialabs.com and order whatever items were missing when you took inventory.

If you are short on funding, please be sure to check out our Donors Choose Guide and our Grant-Writing Guide.

Donors Choose Guide   

Grant Writing Guide


Tip Number 3 - Make sure you have your Login Credentials

You should be able to login using the same credentials as before.

If you’re using the new CodeX or Virtual Robotics courses head over to sim.firialabs.com. For these products there is a shiny new License Portal, different from the one you may have used with previous products from Firia Labs.

 CodeSpace Development Environment

License Portal

See the following link for additional help with the new License Portal.

Getting Started with CodeX & Virtual Robotics

If you’re using Jumpstart or Python with Robots, go to make.firialabs.com to login with the same google account you used before. More help on that, and details on handing out share tokens to your class, can be found here.

CodeSpace - Firia Labs

CodeSpace Licenses & Share Tokens 


Tip Number 4 - Go ahead and get your classroom(s) set up in the Teacher Dashboard

  • With your credentials in hand, head on over to the Teacher Dashboard and sign in

  • Unless you still need the data, you can go ahead and delete any previous classes

    • This will ensure all of your CodeSpace licenses are freed back up for reuse

    • Note this does NOT delete any student data or progress.

  • Next create your new class (or classes)

    • If you already have your roster(s), you can go ahead and enter your students while you are at it

Teacher Dashboard 


Tip Number 5 - Update your Firmware

The engineering team at Firia Labs has had an entire summer to dream up new ideas - there is likely a software update for your products. Rather than tie up valuable classroom time downloading and installing updates into each unit in class, try to set aside some time in advance to do this. This way your students can hit the ground running.

We like to do these over coffee, or while binging on our favorite shows - it’s that easy to do! After you have updated one, it’s just the same process over and over.

Firia Labs Firmware Updater 


Tip Number 6 - Refresh your memory AND see what's changed

Whenever possible, we at Firia Labs watch “real live students”(TM) using our curriculum, and when we notice common stumbling points and patterns, we try to incorporate that back into our curriculum.

So, it’s possible there have been updates to the lessons since you last saw them. Making a quick pass through the lessons will ensure you don’t get stumped by your students in class, plus it will increase your confidence. Besides that, it’s fun telling a computer what to do!

We do the same sort of iterative improvement with our Teacher’s Manuals, so those are worth a fresh look as well.

Can’t locate your Teacher’s Manual? Egads! Contact us at info@firialabs.com and we’ll fix you up.


Tip Number 7 - Re-engage with your peers

Rejoin the conversation at the On Fire With Firia group.

For those not familiar with this, On Fire With Firia is a PLN for educators who use CodeSpace to serve as a network for support or for those who want to learn more.

On Fire with Firia Labs (Facebook Group)


Tip Number 8 - Take care of your funding

Confirm that the plan that you submitted for the 22/23 school year is approved.

If you need to restock your inventory you can order from our website or we can provide you a quote.

Funding concerns can be alleviated. Please be sure to check out our Donors Choose Guide and our Grant-Writing Guide.

Donors Choose Guide   

Grant Writing Guide


Bonus Tip - Plan ahead for what's next

In previous years did you use our JumpStart and Explorer kits for your introductory Python classes? If so, head on over to firialabs.com and take a look at CodeX, the new handheld computing platform on the block.


If you’ve tried our Virtual Robotics simulator or have used JumpStart or CodeX and are looking for a “moving experience” in robotics and coding, take a look at the original Firia Labs CodeBots. They’re the inspiration for the robots inside the simulator, and a great step-up in coding challenge from the CodeX and Jumpstart courses.


If industry recognized certifications for Python are an outcome for your students, take a look at our Virtual Robotics learning resources. Virtual Robotics is a good solution for distance learning.

Virtual Robotics