In February I volunteered as part of my STEM Ambassador activities to go in to a primary school on the edge of Ipswich. At the initial meeting I took along a couple of Ozobots to show the Head Teacher what they were and what they could do. A few weeks later I found out they had purchased 40 Ozobots, and asked if I could come in for a week at the beginning of March to work with the whole school? “Sure”, I said, “Why not?”
That week was incredibly hard work for me, but also a great deal of fun. It was fantastic to see everyone, from the youngest pre-school children to the eldest, having a great time by getting the Ozobots to firstly follow the lines they’d drawn on paper, and then to control them using various coloured patterns. All the children really got in to it, and gave the robots a rather strenuous workout. Some of the things I found out:
- Ozobot batteries won’t necessarily last for a whole school day. This led to some frantic searching for spare USB ports to charge them. I subsequently bought a couple of Anker multi-way intelligent USB chargers;
- Ozobots are tough – we didn’t have a single mechanical failure all week, though a few of them did need to have their software reset at various times (this means that at least one tablet or phone with the Ozobot app is very useful to have);
- Kids love playing with the various helmets that come with the Ozobots and will happily try to put more than one one on a robot at once (I should have expected this);
- They work with kids of all ages and they are really happy with the concept of programming by drawing.
Many thanks to Karen Mills, the Head Teacher at Ravenswood, and Rob Hamilton for hosting me.