Ozobot 101: everything you need to get started + EVO BIRTHDAY GIVEAWAY!

It’s August 30th and today is my birthday! To celebrate with my PLN, I’m giving away six Ozobot Evo Educator Entry Kits. The giveaway links and information can be found at the bottom of this post, but first, I want to introduce Ozobot for those who are not familiar with it. I already wrote about Ozobot briefly in a previous post, but I promised you a more comprehensive dive into this fantastic STEM product, so here goes!

Ozobot is a pocket-sized and affordable robot, ideal for promoting STEM, coding and creativity in the classroom. Especially during this period of remote learning, many schools – including mine – are going 1:1 with Ozobot. You can keep reading for more information on this, but let’s start with the basics.

Two ways to code

Ozobot’s unique selling point is the ability to code in two ways: screen-free using the colour markers and online using the OzoBlockly editor.

  1. Markers and colour codes

Ozobot will follow paths and respond to colour codes that have been drawn for it. The official Ozobot markers are ideal for drawing these paths and codes due to their angled tips, but any markers will work. Ozobot detects the colour codes that have been set and will respond to the commands accordingly. There are colour codes for different speeds, directions, turns, behaviours and more (see this chart). For example, watch the video below to see how Lewis used colour codes to direct Ozobot around and between the letters of his name.

Coding in this way allows for screen-free learning (appreciated now more than ever!) while still promoting the same computational thinking, creativity and problem-solving.

2. OzoBlockly

The second way to code Ozobot is to use OzoBlockly for visual block coding. This software offers five levels of scaffolded coding options that start with basic commands and introduce increasingly more complex and advanced options. These levels are: 1. Pre-Reader (with useful image-based blocks), 2. Beginner, 3. Intermediate, 4. Advanced and 5. Master. Switching to a different level is quick and easy on the OzoBlockly interface. Like other block coding platforms, blocks can be easily dragged and clicked together on screen. As well as toggling between levels, users can switch between Ozobot Bit and Ozobot Evo (Evo is the latest model with more functions than Bit).

The code can be loaded to Ozobot so that learners can test it using their physical robots. The first way to do this, Flash Loading, works when Ozobot is held up to the screen. The flashing colours confirm if the load was successful or not. The second way, App Loading, is faster but only available with the Evo model. This works by using the Evo app and Bluetooth. The third way (even quicker) is available within Ozobot Classroom and establishes a direct Bluetooth connection with Evo for immediate loading and testing (more on Ozobot Classroom later).

OzoBlockly is an excellent place to learn about code because the Glossary reference guide describes the functions of the blocks and how to use them. Furthermore, each skill level includes Example Programs that can be studied and explored. These programs are ready to load to Ozobot but can also be used as a starting point for more coding and tweaking.

As the box states, Ozobot “grows with students”. It really is a low floor, high ceiling resource that all learners will enjoy and benefit from.

Ozobot apps

Each Ozobot (Bit and Evo) has its own separate, free app. These are not required to use Ozobot but they add additional fun, games and functionality. With the Evo app, programs from OzoBlockly can be loaded via Bluetooth and saved to the app for later use.

Ozobot Classroom

The relatively new (and free) Ozobot Classroom is an exciting hub of lesson ideas, resources and professional development opportunities. It is even possible to create classes within Classroom, invite students and assign lessons to them (although I haven’t tried this yet).

The Lesson Library is an ever-growing collection of Ozobot-infused lessons that are fully planned and ready to implement (although adapting them to your students’ needs is obviously encouraged). Teachers can search for relevant key words and the lessons can be filtered by grade level, subject, Ozobot model, and/or coding method. Furthermore, the lessons are aligned with relevant academic standards. As many have done already, teachers can submit their lessons to the Lesson Library through the Lesson Creator.

Going 1:1

As mentioned in the previous post, my school purchased an Ozobot for every student a while back, making us a 1:1 Ozobot school (presumably one of the first in the world). Our purpose was to engage students during this period of remote learning but also leverage Ozobot as a classroom resource when we get back to school (its small size makes for easy transportation between home and school, as needed). Parents could collect the Ozobots or have them delivered by the school bus. Our Technology and Innovation Coaches, Ryan and Fred, prepared an unboxing video and some staggered Ozobot challenges to get students started remotely. The challenges were:

  1. Program Ozobot to tell a story, expressing emotions and actions
  2. Design a maze and code your Ozobot to travel through it
  3. Program your Ozobot to complete a job/responsibility around your home
  4. Program your Ozobot to cheer up someone you love

These challenges and accompanying resources were a brilliant way to get students (and teachers) familiar with Ozobot programming. By completing these, I was able to learn alongside my students and I now feel equipped to utilise Ozobot moving forward.

Click here to watch the highlight reels from the set challenges. As you’ll see, Ozobot really unleashes students’ creativity!

Ozobot 1:1 Hybrid Program

In response to COVID-19, remote learning and the possibility of being in and out of school this year, Ozobot has developed the flexible 1:1 Hybrid Program. This means that schools, like mine, can continue learning throughout this challenging period without sacrificing STEAM or computer science. The Hybrid Program puts a bot in the hands of every student (wherever they are) and leverages Ozobot Classroom for remote-friendly lessons. As mentioned, Ozobot Classroom allows students to access their assignments from home, and the teachers can monitor progress, measure engagement and support their students through the platform also.

Click here for more information and to request a demo.

I hope that this information has offered a useful introduction to Ozobot (I certainly learnt a lot through my research!). Please let me know if you have any questions or, if you have used Ozobots with students, leave a comment below to share your experiences.

Now back to the giveaway!

My birthday giveaway: six Ozobot Evo Educator Kits (each worth US$99!)

Evo is the latest version of Ozobot, with new features such as Bluetooth capability, IR sensors and expressive lights and sounds. The Educator Entry Kit is everything you need to get started. It includes the “Educator Bot Camp”, a step by step way to learn from scratch. Flick through the images in this Instagram post to study the box and its contents. I’m giving away six of these kits to celebrate my birthday and share some joy!

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Adam Hill | 🌏PYP 🖥EdTech 🔧STEM (@adamhilledu) on

So, how can you win one? The giveaway has opened already and will run for one week. You can enter on Twitter, Instagram or both! Simply follow the instructions in this tweet or in this Instagram post (also embedded above). Entering is super easy! However, Instagram users can gain bonus entries by sharing to their story.

The giveaway will close on Saturday 5th September, at 6 pm HKT. All entries from Twitter and Instagram will be included in a spreadsheet and I will choose six winners at random using a number generator. I will announce the winners on Twitter and Instagram as soon as I have them. Full terms and conditions can be found in the Instagram post.

Best of luck!


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2 comments

    1. Hi Carol,

      Thank you for your kind message! So nice to hear from you! I hope that Aidan and Carly are enjoying the new school year. Please tell them I said hello!

      Best,

      Adam

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