Table of Contents

Sphero Edu IT Guide for Schools

Micah Daby Updated by Micah Daby

Whitelisting for Sphero Edu Apps and The Platform

The Sphero Edu ecosystem provides a number of features that rely on web services, including class management, rostering, activity assignments, and cloud storage of program and activity progress. If your school or teachers are planning to use any of the online features with Sphero Edu, then you'll need to ensure certain URLs and services are whitelisted and unblocked. In many cases, key functionality will be blocked if the URLs below are not whitelisted.

Sphero Edu App Client Whitelisting

To ensure the apps can work properly, we recommend whitelisting the following:

  • https://sphero-sprk-mobile-app.s3.amazonaws.com
  • https://sphero-media-sphero-prod.s3.amazonaws.com
  • https://cms-api-production.platform.sphero.com
  • https://edu.sphero.com

These URLs are important for accessing resources that the Sphero Edu apps need, including programs, activities, assets like images and configuration files, and the latest firmware images for your robots. These are key to the core functionality for users, so we always recommend ensuring they are whitelisted.

Optional Whitelist URLs:

Our Sphero Edu app clients do use certain services to ensure optimal functionality and management of bugs. However, they are not essential for core functionality. We appreciate these being whitelisted when possible.

  • https://firestore.googleapis.com
  • https://api.amplitude.com
  • https://warehouse.platform.sphero.com

edu.sphero.com Platform Whitelisting

Teachers will mostly visit the Sphero Edu platform to create and manage classes, manage student accounts, and to work on finding activities to assign to their students. We recommend whitelisting the entire website if you are planning on using the platform

  • https://edu.sphero.com/

YouTube Video Whitelisting

Many activities that students can work on have associated YouTube videos. These can play in the app or on the platform when using activities. We recognize that for most schools, YouTube is completely blocked, or only select channels/videos are whitelisted. While any YouTube video could be added to an activity, the official Sphero activities mostly use videos from these channels:

  • https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyoE0pVJCelsP0lnz-OsUQQ
  • https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCM3c30DuxaH1qJjhpEVhrbA
  • https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5EJptL-l6f4tY6lRdLm_Sw

Whitelisting these channels should ensure most official video content can be accessed in our main activities.

Email Whitelisting

If teachers are setting up accounts with an email and password, then they will get an email activation in their inbox. In some cases, these account activation emails will get blocked by spam filters or other email settings. Make sure that emails from support@sphero.com are whitelisted for your email services. We have more info here.

Other General Info

Ports 80 and 443 need to be open to allow web traffic, though this is rarely an issue since most schools have these ports unblocked.

Since Sphero Edu allows users to sign in with various options, including Google Sign In, Sign in With Apple, and Clever, there may be additional services that need to be unblocked.

iOS, iPadOS, and macOS Deployment

Apple School Manager is the primary way to deploy the iOS/iPadOS or macOS versions of Sphero Edu to a managed device pool in schools. This official management tool allows Schools to manage their device pool, disable certain functionality, and of most relevance to this document, deploy apps to the managed devices.

You can sign in at the official Apple School Manager portal here. You can then search for the Sphero Edu apps and deploy to the needed devices. There are two Sphero Edu listings (one for iOS/iPadOS, and one for macOS), so make sure to find and choose the correct one for your devices.

Apple's official support guide for Apple School Manager can be found here, and additional details about their education solutions can be found here. Do note that Apple School Manager can be utilized with other MDM (mobile device management) solutions, including many popular ones. If you use other MDM solutions for Apple hardware, please consult their support documentation and guides.

Chromebook Deployment

The Android version of the Sphero Edu app is now our officially supported version of the app on Chromebooks. If your Chromebooks are managed either with Google's enterprise or education admin solutions, then review Google's support documentation on how to Deploy Android apps to managed users on Chromebooks. Google also has additional guidelines and tips for deploying Android apps on Chromebooks in a school environment, located here. Below are some key steps and additional information that may be helpful.

Setting up Managed Google Play

You will need to "enable" an app setting called Managed Google Play to deploy the Android version of Sphero Edu. Don't worry - this won't result in your managed students having access to Google Play without restrictions. Rather, it will provide a portal for your students to access only the Android apps you have whitelisted in Google Play. In this case, this means they will only have access to Sphero Edu.

  1. In Google Admin, go to Apps > Additional Services
  2. Select your organizational unit of choice, and enabled Managed Google Play

Managed Google Play

Deploying The Android App on Chromebooks

You will need to "allow" Android applications on Chrome Devices. Without allowing this setting, you won't be able to deploy Android apps to Chromebooks.

  1. Go to Devices > Chrome > Apps & Extensions > Users & Browsers
  2. In the top right corner of the page, select Additional Settings
  3. From the Additional Settings screen, go to Android applications on Chrome devices under Additional application settings and select "allow".
  1. Now that Android apps are supported, go back to Devices > Chrome > Apps & Extensions > Users & Browsers
  2. In the bottom right corner, select the + icon, and select the Google Play icon (second from bottom)
  3. Search for Sphero Edu, and from the app overview page, tap "Select".
  4. When deploying the Sphero Edu Android app, you will have two core options. You can allow students to manually install from Managed Google Play, or you can force install the app to their Chromebook. With the latter option, you can also pin the app to the task bar after installation.

Location Permission Requirements

Currently the Android version of the Sphero Edu app requires location permissions to be granted due to how Bluetooth is utilized in scanning for hardware. You can learn more about the technical reasons here.

Geolocation:

To ensure that robots can connect in the Android app, you will need to ensure that location permissions are not blocked by Geolocation settings:

  1. From Google Admin, go to Devices > Chrome > Settings > Users & Browsers
  2. Under User & Browser Settings, Scroll down to the Security section (or search for it)
  3. From there, find the “Geolocation” setting. Change it from “Do not allow sites to detect users’ geolocation” to “Allow sites to detect users’ geolocation” or “Allow the user to decide”.

Location Services:

You may also need to enable additional location service settings. You can do so by following the steps below:

  1. From Google Admin, go to Devices > Chrome > Settings > Users & Browsers
  2. Under User & Browser Settings, scroll to the Android Applications section (or search for it)
  3. Look for a setting called Google Location Services and ensure it’s enabled

Age Based Labels:

If an organization unit is using an age based label, then location permissions may be blocked for that label. In particular, the label Some or all users are under 18 years of age often blocks location permissions from working. To disable this impact

  1. From Google Admin, go to Account > Age based access settings
  2. Select your impacted organization unit
  3. Select All users are 18 or older for your age label

Windows Deployment

If your students or teachers have access, then the most straightforward and official way to download the Sphero Edu app is through the Microsoft Store.

When you click on the above URL, you will be redirected to the app listing in your default language/region. Per your account settings, you can optionally have updates automatically applied. This will ensure your Sphero Edu app is always up to date with any new feature releases or patches.

In some cases, you students or teachers may not have access to the Microsoft Store. For circumstances like these, we do provide a .msixbundle package for installation from our official download page. The .msixbundle requires App Installer for installation. App Installer is usually preinstalled on all versions of Windows that Sphero Edu is supported on.

Sphero Edu Deployment with Intune

The most straightforward way to deploy Sphero Edu to a Windows device pool is with a Mobile Device Management solution (MDM). If you are an IT administrator for a school or district, we recommend using Intune for Education, which is Microsoft's official solution for deploying apps and managing devices in a school environment. You can learn more about Intune at this article: Use Intune for Education to manage groups, apps, and settings.

The page above has 3 links that are useful for understanding Intune:

When using Intune, you should be able to either deploy the app from the Sphero Edu app from Microsoft Store, or deploy the .msixbundle we provide on our official download page.

Many MDM solutions for Windows will most likely be compatible with our Sphero Edu store listing or .msixbundle. However, we are unable to test all configurations and MDM tools. If you have any specific questions, please contact our support team and we may be able to assist.

For additional information on Windows deployment solutions with Sphero Edu, please review this Microsoft document: MSIX App Distribution

Beyond Intune, the above article provides links for the following potential deployment solutions:

  • Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager
  • Microsoft Store for Business and Education (which will be retired in 2023)
  • IIS server Deployment for Windows 10
  • App Center
  • PowerShell
Please contact our support team if you run into any issues with whitelisting, deployment, or other IT needs. You can contact our support team with feedback or inquiries about bugs and features at support@sphero.com.

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