Bots and Mapping

Over the last few class periods I’ve had students exploring parts of an essay using Ozobots, Ozobot codes, and maps. The goal was to use robot dance moves, turns, spins, and colors as a way to design a new way of ‘seeing’, ‘writing’, and ‘reading’ an essay.

Despite starting with pre-drawn mazes, learning to draw the codes in a way that Ozobot recognizes them took some getting used to.

I had the students begin the assignment by reading an academic article to explore the decisions authors make to develop content and structure. Students then selected a maze to map their article content and article structure findings.

At this stage students struggled a bit with separating content from structure. While they were able to identify both content moves and structural moves – they still saw the two as interdependent. This caused them difficulty with determining the perspective of the robot – would the robot be a ‘reader’, the author? These decisions then changed and influenced how they mapped the Ozobot through the maze. While I pushed them to choose, I am now considering ways of implementing this assignment more effectively next semester.

To begin, seeing students struggle with separating content and structure in an article (the class period after we discussed academic structure in articles) means I need to do more with active reading, especially active reading and engagement with academic articles.

As part of the Teaching for Transfer curriculum i’m developing (based on Yancey, Robertson and Taczak’s) I’m also exploring ways active reading can fit within the curriculum to support student sense making of academic writing. Since we’ll be using predominantly academic articles for the readings – they’ll have tons of practice. I was able to use the Ozobot codes to help students recognize parts of content and parts of structure – so how can I take a step back and use Ozobots to help students recognize active reading? Where in the curriculum do discussions of active reading belong to best support students writing practices development?

I have so many more things to discuss about our play with the Ozobots – I’ll post more on them soon!


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