Sunday, May 7, 2017

Ozobot: Learn Basic Coding with this Little Robot

Thanks to a state library grant, I was able to offer a special program at my library using the little Ozobot robot. An Ozobot is a robot about the size of a ping-pong ball that can be used as a teaching tool for basic coding.

At the beginning of my lesson with Ozobot, we looked at how the robot follows lines. I showed the children the basics and then let them explore on their own. What we learned:

  • The light sensors on the Ozobot follows lines, printed or drawn.
  • The Ozobot needs to be calibrated regularly or when it is acting erratic.  
  • It can see certain colors: blue, green, red. When drawing with these colors, the color on the Ozobot's dome will shine the same color as the line. 
  • You can give Ozobot commands by using color codes. 
  • The order of the colors in the color codes does matter.
I found this online Ozobot Basic Training lesson and this Programming with Colors lesson to be extremely helpful in teaching me what I needed to teach to the children.  

As the children became familiar with the color codes, I then handed out tablets to use with the OzoBlockly website. OzoBlockly uses a graphical drag and drop programming language (very similar to Scratch) to write code for the Ozobot robot. A line of graphical code is placed in a row and then uploaded into the robot by calibrating it on top of the tablet screen. OzoBlockly was rather easy to get started with since it has numbered difficulty.  Even the games start off easy and get harder. The kids with experience in Scratch caught on to this really fast.  

Overall, I thought the Ozobot robots offer a unique experience for a coding class. It is not something many children will have in the home. Since the coding can be done on paper or on the computer/tablet, it gives a multi-sensory opportunity.  

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