5 Quick Ideas for Integrating Robots with Books
Currently, our library makerspace has two robots – The Ozobot and Cubelets. Click on the links for reviews of each. One day a week, our library makerspace goes technical and these robots delight and challenge our students. This year, our focus has been to integrate the library makerspace activities with literature. So here are 5 quick ideas for integrating robots with literature.
We are always on the lookout for new technology to add to our library makerspace and, thanks to a generous gift from our school’s Parents and Friends fund raising group, we were able to make a significant purchase of new robotics. After much research I choose to request the purchase of Cubelets from Modular Robotics. Have you seen these super cute modular robots? The tactile and seamless design of these robots was the first thing to catch my attention. And the students agree. “Ohhh, pretty” is the usual first reaction, along with a quick grab to study these cube-shaped robots. So, let’s take a deeper look at these robots, their use in our makerspace and our reaction.
Jinxed – Amy McCulloch – Simon & Schuster (Aus) – Published 9 August 2018
Lacey Chu has big dreams of becoming a companioneer for MONCHA, the largest tech firm in North America and the company behind the “baku” – a customisable smart pet that functions as a phone but makes the perfect companion too. When Lacey finds out she hasn’t been accepted into Profectus – the elite academy for cutting edge tech – it seems her dreams are over. Worst of all, rather than getting to choose one of the advanced bakus, she’s stuck with a rubbish insect one.
Then, one night, Lacey comes across the remains of an advanced baku. Once it might’ve been in the shape of a cat but it’s now mangled and broken, no sign of electronic life behind its eyes. Days of work later and the baku opens its eyes. Lacey calls him Jinx – and Jinx opens up a world for her that she never even knew existed, including entry to the hallowed halls of Profecus. Slowly but surely, Jinx becomes more than just a baku to Lacey – he becomes her perfect companion. But what is Jinx, really? His abilities far surpass anything written into his code or built into his motherboard. He seems to be more than just a robotic pet. He seems … real.
Jinxed is a fun, near-futuristic science-fiction novel that will appeal to young teen readers, especially those interested in STEM.
Lacey Chu’s one dream is to become a companioneer with the biggest tech company Moncha, the creators of the Baku – part smartphone part animal companion. But when she is rejected entry to the prestigious academy Profectus, a second chance unexpectedly arrives in the form of a broken Level 3 Baku. Lacey spends the summer fixing the robotic cat before joining her new classmates. She hopes no one will discover the way she was admitted or Jinx’s secret – he doesn’t act or communicate like a normal Baku. But the school-run Baku Battles throw Lacey and Jinx into the spotlight.
Ozobot Activity Ideas
Since introducing our Ozobot Bit to the library I have been trying to come up with fresh ideas for interacting with the little robot during our lunchtime sessions. Here are a few ideas I have tried so far. I would love to hear about your own ideas, so please leave them in the comment section below.
Races – this requires multiple Ozobots or a stop watch to record time trials. Students design their own course. To make it harder, set code limits or requirements, e.g. must use at least three different speed codes.
What can you do with a robot?
“What is that? What does it do?” Both are questions often asked since the library introduced its first robot, Ozobot Bit. The answer? “This is an Ozobot. As to what it can do, well, that is entirely up to you.” There are many articles, research papers, blog posts, and reviews citing the benefits of introducing technology into library spaces. But it is not until you see for yourself the wonder, excitement, and challenge these robots bring to students’ faces that the promise of what technology can offer really takes shape.
I was fortunate to win an Ozobot at an augmented libraries conference I attended recently. Since introducing Ozobot to the students, a mere two weeks ago, the response has been overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic.