Ozobots

After attending CampIDEA I used the technology funds to purchase Ozobots. I included a conference workshop proposal a few posts ago – now I’m finalizing the Quest Day devoted to using these tiny robots.

As robots designed to help students learn to code, it’s not surprising there are limited discussions of how to use these in Humanities based classrooms. I found some really interesting ideas in STREAM education (science, technology, reading, engineering, arts, and math) about designing sets to accompany stories, and then coding the ozobots to ‘navigate’ the story. While interesting, what i’m hoping for is a version of transfer of threshold concepts with this activity – students will brainstorm key concepts (parts of an academic essay), then they’ll annotate an actual academic essay to refine the brainstorm list, then they’ll design a path for the ozobot that emphasizes key concepts (by coding dance moves, or turns, or lights at important points in their path). Side note: I need to work on my terminology before students begin this assignment on Wednesday.

What I’m considering right now is how I demonstrate the ozobots to students. I could write a code to have ozobots navigate a story – but is that demonstrative enough of what I want them to learn from this activity or distracting? I could create my own threshold concept map – but would that hinder creativity? I’m thinking I could design both – demonstrating the story navigation as an idea of how to apply the ozobot technology, then my concept map would be demonstrated when theirs are – then I’m not influencing or hindering their creativity. The ozobots also include general maps for the ozobots to navigate, while demonstrating my story navigation I can also put an ozobot on the standard-delivered path to show different application and increase creativity.

The struggle here is heavily tied to makerspace discussions – how do we create a space for usable projects that are tied to learning while also encouraging creative and critical thinking? Additionally, I’m adding a creative robot element to a traditional humanities class – how do I support the students exploration with new technology that isn’t traditionally tied to composition (robots)?

I’ll update as I continue to explore – if I design my own story navigations I’ll have to try to post a video (because it will be jane austen related….of course!).

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