Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto.
Wednesday at the library was technology full STEAM ahead! Summer Reading Story Time started the morning, 47 kids were in attendance. Berenice along with some great helpers introduced the kids to robotics.
Three stations with three Ozobots each were the main attraction. I mentioned the Ozobots a few weeks ago, we recently purchased 10 of them with the help of our Summer Reading Program Grant (Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) Grant funded through the Institute of Museum and Library Services) and a local donation. Ozobots are small, smart toy robots that empower gamers and learners to code, play, create and connect the physical and digital worlds. The kids loved them, the parents loved them, let’s be honest, I am pretty sure anyone that had a chance to play with them would love them.
The Ozobots recognize marker lines on paper. They will follow a black line; they change colors to match red, blue, and green lines. They read codes made by the arrangement of the before mentioned colors. You can make them go fast or slow with different codes, you can make them do things, like dance, with different codes. With tablets and an app you can create your own codes. The kids made “art” incorporating different lines and colors and let the Ozobots do the rest.
We purchased the Ozobots as an introduction for our kids to the world of coding. In their most basic form they teach the children “magic”, as in, this little machine can read your artwork, but the Ozobot has potential to share so much more. The children were introduced to codes to make the machine perform certain tasks. In the future, with the purchase of tablets for the library, the children can take it a step further, by creating their own codes.
The technology continued in the afternoon, as our kids experienced their second week of Robotics with the University of Missouri Extension Office. Last week they built the structure of the robot, this week they started programming it to run an obstacle course. Programming was the word used, coding or programming, it is the same thing, the robot has to be given the information to perform the task. I LOVED it! I was able to sit down and actually “help” one group of kids, but only after asking the expert coder, Colin, (a 9-year-old attendee) for direction. The best part was watching the trial and error and teamwork. If the brain emitted steam, like the old cartoons, it would have been pouring out the library doors.
Berenice and I are looking forward to continuing these activities and others similar to it. We will be introducing more STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) projects in the future. I guess the teacher in me is still alive. Watching how excited the kids were and seeing actually learning take place was one of the best things that happened on Wednesday.
My opening sentence, some of you 80’s rock fans might recognize, Mr. Roboto by Styx. The song was not a pro-technology song, but I still love the line and we have come a long way from 1983. Domo Arigato means “thank you very much”.
Thank you very much, Mr. Roboto.