Devices, Guest Post, Professional Development, Teaching
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Bringing Coding to Life with Ozobots

What Is an Ozobot?

Ozobots are small robots that students can use to complete challenges while being introduced to basic coding through the process. These simple $59 devices can do some pretty amazing things. Draw a color-coded path on a piece of paper and see the robot follow the line as drawn, or use your iPad or computer to create commands for your Ozobot to perform. The beauty of these rugged little devices is their flexibility and the way they introduce basic concepts of coding through play. Students from kindergarten through high school can learn big ideas using these little devices.

Built in Differentiation

Ozobots naturally lend themselves to being used by children ranging in age from kindergarten to high school as a way to learn more about what coding is and how to control other objects through the code that they write.

For kindergarten and first grades, Ozobots can be used to simply follow any clear path that is drawn on a sheet of paper or whiteboard. Students can steer Ozobots around obstacles and have them push small objects from one place to another. For second and third grades, students can add commands to these paths by using specific combinations of colors. These combinations are sensed by the Ozobot and can be used to slow down, speed up, and turn the Ozobot.

For fourth through eighth grades, students can program Ozobots using the drag and drop Ozoblockly editor similar to Scratch. Using any internet-connected device, students can transfer these commands to their Ozobots to accomplish certain tasks or complete a variety of challenges. Even at the high school level, Ozobots can provide a nice introduction to coding. Within the Ozoblockly editor, students can view the actual JavaScript code used by their device. I would imagine that Ozobots will allow users to program them using the actual JavaScript in the near future.

Ozoblockly Editor Screen Shot Up Close

The Ozoblockly Editor with Java Script Tab

Who Has Time for This?

As educators, we often don’t have enough time in the day as is. However, you don’t have to look far to find reasons why students need to be taught, or at least introduced to, computer programming and coding. These skills will prove to be essential in the careers that are awaiting many of our students. Ozobots are a great way to introduce coding concepts and to increase interest within your school.

Ozobot Line Commands

At my school, we introduced these to our students earlier in the year. Classes signed up for sessions to come and be taught the basics of how to use an Ozobot. Students were then invited to bring in their own Ozobot paths from home and try them out at school during designated recesses. The level of interest was astounding. Dozens of students requested and received Ozobots for Christmas this year. Our kids are hooked.

More Information

Though I could say a lot more about these fun little robots, I want to encourage you to do some more exploring on your own. Check out the resources below. I think you’ll find Ozobots both intriguing and exciting, and I hope that you’ll consider purchasing some for your classroom, school, or district.

 


Charging Ozobots

Guest post by: Brandon Helder, 2nd grade teacher at Hudsonville Christian School in Hudsonville, Michigan. Or as he likes to say, he’s the tallest 2nd grader at Hudsonville Christian. Brandon writes “The Thrify Tech Teacher” blog. He is married to Kimberly, and they have three girls under five years old. Contact Brandon via the “Say Hello” form on his blog.

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