LOGO and derivatives are great pedagogical tools for an introduction to programming. Indeed, in a very short period of time, kids – but not only – can create pretty elaborated programs and have stimulating visual feedback that helps a lot to keep their attention and interest high. I recently discovered the Ozobots in a stem toy shop close to where we live. I found one under the Xmas tree (I am wondering why :-)) and decided to play with it this afternoon. What a great little bot! To describe it, I would say that it is a mashup between LOGO and a dark line following robots – like the ones you could build during the early ’80s.

But these bots are way cooler because, in addition to being programmable via BLOCKLY thru a computer, you can also program them using color codes. Indeed, the bot can sense colors and can, therefore, be driven by adding opcodes (ozocodes) to the lines to be followed. You can this way alter the bot’s speed, direction, request special moves as well as using a counter and a timer. So if you have a color printer attached to your computer, you can quickly set yourself up with a graphic development environment! In fact, nothing prevents you to draw using color highlighters. Ozobots remarkable toys and extraordinary pedagogical tools. I need to look more into how much of the bot’s core behavior can be reprogrammed, but I cannot restrain myself from dreaming big here. Last but not least, I do not know for you, but this bot reminds me a lot of the Turing machine 😉