Ozobot 101: Getting Familiar
What are Ozobots?
Ozobots are tiny robots that unlike most robots rely strictly on light sensors to get their data rather than Bluetooth, USB, or WiFi. Because of this, Ozobots will work on any device as their coding platform is web-based. This is why, at STEM Camp EDU, we love working with Ozobots and always suggest them to our elementary teachers who are looking to do more coding in their classroom. Let’s look how you can get starting with these in your elementary classroom.
Whenever an elementary educator asks me what robot they should get for the classroom, I immediately reply with Ozobots for many reasons. I’ll outline the main reasons here:
It is Device-Agnostic. Have a BYOD policy? No problem. Ozobots don’t require apps and will work on practically every internet-capable device. This includes Amazon Fires, Kindles, iPads, Chromebooks, Macbooks, Samsung Notes, iPhones/iPods, Desktop/Laptop computers, and more.
You Don’t Need a Device. What? You can code a robot without a single device? That’s true. You can code an Ozobot with just markers and a paper. But before you think that this is just for younger students, check out some of our challenging tracks on our site.
You Don’t Need to be 1:1 with Robots. Because they aren’t controlling the robots rather just loading the already written code in their robot, you can be successful in your classroom with only 6-8 robots (a 4:1 ratio works just fine).
The Battery Life is Awesome. I have 12 of these robots and teach science to five different classes throughout the day. I rarely have to charge these because the majority of the time the Ozobot is off and just waiting for the code to be loaded in.
The Price. This all sounds amazing, so these things must be expensive. False. These robots run from anywhere to $30-$50 (depending on sales). What a great deal!
Which Ozobot is right for me?
The EVO definitely has some really cool features over the Bit 2.0, but personally I love the fact that my students don’t ever drive the robots (like Spheros) because it conserves the battery life. The 7 LED Lights are also very cool, but not entirely necessary for you to get your students coding.
Opinion: In my opinion, you are getting the best bang for your buck with the Ozobot Bit 2.0’s. You can even buy classroom sets for around $1,000 that include 18 of these robots as well as everything else you could need (bowling pins, challenges, code sheets, markers, posters, etc.).
How do I get my students started?
For primary students (K-2), I highly recommend starting with their program called Color Codes Basic Training. This will give younger students a solid grasp of what coding is as well as the basic codes used. Below are some suggestions before starting:
Print Ozocode Sheets (if you don’t have the teacher pack)
Use ¼” Graph Paper to practice drawing lines and code (See Video to the Right from @RyneAnthony of STEM Camp EDU)
If you don’t have Ozobot Markers, use Mr. Sketch Markers. Make sure to get the pack of lighter colors (dark blue will look like black to the Ozobot Bit 2.0). Also, if markers aren’t your thing, check out OzoEasy, a company started by young entrepreneur. Check out our product page for more information.
For upper elementary students (3-5), I recommend starting with the Ozoblockly Basic Training. This will introduce students to basic block coding through game based learning. Below are some suggestions before starting:
Do a couple levels on your own to get familiar and comfortable
Do Level 1 with your students (and possibly Level 2 if you feel them struggling a little bit).
Browse Ozobot FAQs for basic questions you may have.
What are some activities to do?
Here are some of my favorite activities to use the Ozobots with.
OzoCity (STEM Camp EDU Exclusive)
Always check back to our blog because we are constantly putting up new Ozobot challenge tracks and activities for you to try with your students. Just like we’ve said before, We, at STEM Camp EDU, love Ozobots!