I’ve been playing with my Ozobots this week. I’m convinced these would be the best choice for classroom use, but they aren’t the most exciting option for home. I still haven’t done anything that couldn’t be done with the red or blue starter kit.
The main Ozobot app has three play sections. The first is a free draw section. It has the advantages of creating lines that are the perfect width and codes that will always be read. I had more fun dealing with the frustrations of drawing on paper, but that’s an individual thing. The second contains predrawn maps to use as a starter point. The third section is the challenge section. This one also contains maps, but there are marked start and end points. You are also given a finite list of commands to place on the map to ensure you make it from start to end. The first few puzzles introduce basic moves and they become more challenging. Hopefully this section will continue to expand with more difficult challenges. There is also a section that allows you to calibrate, tune-up, and adjust the default settings for color and speed. I had some trouble with the app. The games and the tune-up features seemed to work, but I was unable to register my Ozobot through the app.
The Ozobot Groove app allows you to choreograph dance move for the Ozobot and synch it with music. I did see that one of the on-line lessons used it to make polygons, but I’m not inspired to try it out yet.
I’ve focused primarily on computer generated maps and the introductory lesson on the Ozobot web site. A little experimentation showed that inserting shapes in Word and setting the line width to 15pt produced maps the Ozobot could follow easily. All the video clips are at 1.5 speed.
The next thing I tried was a computer printed map and using address labels to create codes and stick on the map. The stickers didn’t impede the Ozobot from traveling over the map. You can see that the codes are a little wider than the lines on the map and a little messy. I’m also using new pens, so the colors are dark. You can see the Ozobot ran right over the codes and barely blipped. I think the sticker modification to the maps would work, but it would take some practice getting the dots right and lighter or faded markers would work better than new ones.
I decided to try putting blank codes on the map to be colored in to reduce the size irregularity of hand drawn codes. It was a little challenging to do and my boxes are still a little too big, but I have ideas for next time.
My map wound up being bad for a number of reasons. My code boxes were a little too big. While the Ozobot had no problems with the lines, there wasn’t enough space between the lines to insert the codes and leave the needed gap. It also was too complex to make it a reasonable challenge to put in codes to make it from start to end in a fairly direct path. If I were going to give this to students as a challenge, I’d make a smaller and interesting map.
The Ozobot site has a huge collection of lessons and activities. The basic training lessons do a really nice job of introducing the basic features of the Ozobot and provide background information on line-following robots and their uses in real life. The lessons are well-done. They include topics, educational standards, grade level, time and materials needed, and all the printed materials needed.