By: Joyce Seaman

Why the Ozobot?

There are many robots on the market targeted for use in the classroom. The Ozobot measures in at only 2.5 cm in diameter and height, but don’t let its size keep you from giving it a try. This little robot can be programmed using drag-and-drop blocks, Python, or even screen-free by using markers to draw paths and color codes. According to D. J. Barnes, “studies show that robotics generates a high degree of student interest and engagement” (Barnes, 2002), and this robot is always a favorite in the classroom. The robots come in sets of 12 or 18 and fit nicely into a charging container that allows all Ozobots to be charged at the same time.  A charged Ozobot lasts for about 90 minutes, which is more than enough time to complete activities. In my experience, the robot is great for all ages, but Elementary and Middle School classrooms seem to be the best fit. Students love the hands-on quality of the little robots that can be used right on their desks, under the desks, or anywhere else in the classroom. As reported by Resource Area for Teaching, “When hands-on activities are employed, teaching is more fun, and students are more motivated to learn” (Resource Area for Teaching, 2012). There have been days when the students cheered when I entered the classroom with the Ozobots because they knew they were going to have fun while they learned.

Using the Ozobots

“Robotics programming is necessary for elementary school students and is useful in promoting their higher-order thinking abilities”.  (Noh and Lee, 2019)  In its basic form, the Ozobot uses optic sensors to follow a drawn black line.  The addition of color codes allows the robot to change direction or speed and allows students to create cool moves like a backwalk or tornado. By using black, blue, red, or green markers and in combinations of 3 or 4 colors, students create the codes for the Ozobot to read. Another programming option is using the Ozoblocky drag-and-drop editor that allows students of all ages to program the robot independently of color codes. This can be done on a variety of devices, including Chromebooks, tablets, and phones. There is an app that can be downloaded, or students can program directly into a web interface. Students can even create accounts to save their work. Ozoblocky is designed for pre-readers by using images on the blocks at level 1, while level 5 appeals to users with experience in logic, variables, and functions. There is even a Python programming solution in beta form for students with advanced programming skills. As students interact with each level of programming the Ozobot, their critical and higher-order thinking skills are tested as the Ozobot performs more commands at higher levels. Students can build the program, run it, debug it, and then reprogram if necessary. Part of the appeal of these robots is that student learning becomes visible. In her book No Fear Coding, Heidi Williams illustrates the importance of why it is critical for K-5 students to make their thinking visible. She states, “We know that young students are concrete thinkers and are beginning to follow step-by-step directions.  These beginning stages… are the start of algorithmic thinking in action.” This constitutes a developmental progression of skills as students begin to move from concrete to abstract thinking. Students can watch the robots carry out commands, either drawn or programmed, and then can very easily make modifications to debug the code if necessary. Even in the Blockly drag-and-drop tiles, the icons and associated words move from concrete to abstract, helping students to take the next steps in their own thinking.  

Pair programming

One of my favorite ways to use the Ozobots is in pairs or small groups. This allows students to see how they can arrive at the same answer even though there are many different paths to get there. When working in pairs, students are coding on their own but have a partner to whom they are explaining their thinking.  In the book Computational Thinking {and Coding} for Every Student, Jane Krauss and Kiki Prottsman point out that during pair programming, “students in both roles are thinking aloud, which is a metacognitive strategy for evaluating and improving reasoning.” As students reason out loud, they often help each other to problem solve, look at the problem from different perspectives, and help each other if they come to roadblocks in their programming. Krauss and Prottsman go on to say that “learning is most effective when students are able to see how other people tackle an issue, and then are able to step back and analyze why and how the solution worked, to see if they can incorporate pieces of it into their own project.” This helps students to learn from peers and learn how to explain their learning to others.  

Ozobot Curriculum

To help encourage creativity, Ozobot has also created the Ozobot Classroom website which allows educators to search through vetted lessons created by the Ozobot education team, the 100+ certified Ozobot educators, and other educators from around the world. There is a written, sequential curriculum aligned to national education standards that spans from PK-8th grade to teach students how to use the Ozobots, and there are STEM and 3D Printing activities designed especially for use with the Ozobots.  “Programming is a creative activity, and robots are effective tools for fostering creativity. Previous studies have shown that using robots in programming courses encourages students’ creativity”. (Noh and Lee, 2019) Since COVID was a time for change in teaching methods, the Ozobot curriculum team designed lessons that students could complete without their classroom teacher guiding the lesson. In the lesson library, are also several lessons that have short video segments which show students how to complete the lesson. The curriculum team has also created the ultimate mash-up of robotics and augmented reality in its Metabot platform. Choose custom costumes and backgrounds, then program the Ozobot using color code tiles or Blockly to watch the Ozobot travel in an augmented reality world. The Ozobot education team is always adding new ideas and bringing fresh and new ideas to the table to help students learn critically and creatively.  The Metabot platform won the EdTech Breakthrough Award in 2023.

Are Ozobots really all that?

There have been students I have met along the way who get frustrated using the Ozobots. Many times it is because they lack the fine motor skills needed to draw the color codes correctly on paper. Sometimes it is because they don’t have the patience to try a solution, debug, and then try again. Most of the drawbacks to using the Ozobots stem from these two frustrations. Taking the time to teach students how to use them properly before a lesson may help mitigate this. In my opinion, these robots really are all that. I have been using them for over 10 years in many different subject areas and classrooms, and look forward to every time that I use them with students, frustrations, and all.  After all, don’t we want students to learn from trying, failing, then trying again in a different way. The Ozobots allow for this type of learning.


There is always a lot of happy chatter in the room when we use the Ozobots, but more importantly, there is creativity, sharing of ideas, and problem-solving as students work together to code their robots. Students are motivated to learn. Just today, I was using them in a 2nd grade class where students had to complete multiplication problems.  Students were highly engaged and worked hard to have the opportunity to use the Ozobots once they finished the multiplication problems. Besides the motivating aspect of the Ozobots, when using them, students are exposed to many ideas of computational thinking as they work through completing tasks with the Ozobot. An entry level Ozobot Evo kit can be purchased for $175, or classroom kits with multiple Ozobots and charging trays start at just over $2,000. These are comparable to other robots currently on the market. Visit the Ozobot website ( if you would like to learn more!


Barnes, D. J. (2002, February 27). Teaching introductory Java through LEGO MINDSTORMS models. ACM SIGCSE Bulletin, 34(1), 147–151.

Krauss, J., & Prottsman, K. (2017). Computational thinking and coding for every student: The teacher’s getting-started guide. Corwin, SAGE Publishing Company.

Noh, J., & Lee, J. (2019). Effects of robotics programming on the computational thinking and creativity of elementary school students. Educational Technology Research and Development, 68(1), 463–484.

R. (2017, May 9). CASE FOR HANDS-ON LEARNING. RAFT., Heidi. No Fear Coding: Computational Thinking across the K-5 Curriculum. International Society for Technology in Education, 2021.

About the Author

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Prior to volunteering with CSTA, Joyce has had over 26 years of experience in education. Starting as an art teacher, and then moving into teaching technology, Joyce has been mentoring teachers and pre-service teachers on how to integrate technology in their classrooms from the PK-College level for more than 20 years. Her favorite part about coaching others is seeing the moment when teachers see how the use of technology can enhance activities in their classrooms, and then watching students light up when they experience the activities. She loves to integrate robotics into the curriculum, and is a Certified Ozobot Educator. Joyce has also won grants from the NSA for the Gencyber program which brought cybersecurity summer camps to Winthrop University two years in a row for both teachers and middle/high school students. She partnered with the Citadel to bring training to Winthrop University for a programming summer camp for local teachers. In her free time, Joyce loves traveling with her husband and 4 teenage children.