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My boys got an Ozobot Evo coding robot about four months ago after my husband saw them demonstrated at a teacher’s conference. From the start, it seemed like a neat idea, but with all the coding robots out there, I wondered if this one in particular was worth the money or if it would actually be as cool as it seemed.
Now that we’ve had a few months to play with it, here’s my completely honest review of the Ozobot Evo. I’ll share what we absolutely love about it…and what isn’t so great.
What do we Love about the Ozobot?
There’s an app you can utilize to control the robot, but you can also use the book, markers, and tape! For days when we’re using screen time for other things, I love having this screen-free option. The app is great, and I’m glad there’s an option to use a tech device for the robot, but it’s not required, which sets this little bot apart.
The coding abilities and options inside the app are truly incredible.The block code editor lets kids customize exactly what they want their Ozobot to do, such as how far it should move, what color to show, what sounds and music to play, and so much more.
And this block code editor allows for immediate feedback, which is so helpful for kids while they are learning. My boys would create a program, test it out, and realize right away what they needed to change to make it work better.
The tutorials available online and in the app were very helpful. My kids were able to follow along easily, and it didn’t take them long to catch on to how to program and control the bot. If you’re using this in a classroom setting (or even at home), there’s an entire set of lessons available inside an educator account on the Ozobot website. They make it super easy for you to assign lessons to your students.
We only got one Ozobot for our three boys and initially I was concerned about how that was going to work out. But it was really neat to see how they worked together to brainstorm ideas, troubleshoot problems, and come up with some pretty cool coding paths and programs. In fact, I’d recommend using this in a group setting for the collaboration it sparked.
What are the Downsides?
While the robot itself was pretty much ready to go straight out of the box using the booklet and markers that came with it, setting up the coding part of the website where they could control it via the computer or app was much more difficult than I expected. I’m a very tech savvy person, and it was still a bit of a headache to figure out how to connect the bot to the app and get the teacher account set up. I felt like the instructions were unclear.
(A quick caveat – this was four months ago, so they may have made some improvements to the website since then). However, once we got it all figured out, though, it worked super well.
While you can utilize some features with just the robot and included book and markers, you definitely need a device for most of the advanced coding and activities – and it’s helpful if you have a device like an ipad or a computer screen that can lie flat. You can use an app on your phone to do the coding, but I’m not sure how well you can have the robot roll around on your screen. This isn’t a downside if you already own a device that will work with the bot, but it’s something to keep in mind.
I think my biggest disappointment with this coding robot is that it doesn’t really hold my kids attention for long. The times they do play with it, they create some crazy cool paths for the robot and explore a ton of coding concepts, which I love. But it isn’t something they’ve wanted to pull out again and again.
I think for the future, I would give them more structure and ideas to implement when they do play with it and assign it as part of their day. If you’re planning on using this in a classroom or at home, having structure and a plan to go through the Evo Ozobot training they provide (there are online lessons you can assign inside your account on your website) will help use this robot to its fullest potential.
What’s our Overall Impression?
Despite some of the downsides, I do have to say I’m glad we got the Ozobot Evo. It’s provided a unique hands-on learning experience for coding, and I loved hearing my kids laugh and make crazy plans as they worked together to create programs for their robot. If you’re looking for a comprehensive coding experience with hands-on and screen-free options, the Ozobot Evo is a great investment.