Enthusiasm sparkles in Ladina’s and Oliver’s eyes as they talk about their experience with the Ozobots. They attend the 5th/6th grade taught by Laura Hess at the primary school in Knonau (ZH). Laura Hess was part of the project group that started, in the summer of 2017, to develop a course of lessons on 'Programming and Robotics' that would provide materials across all school levels.
The project group looked at teaching resources, websites and other sources for suitable and engaging content that would support the digital shift at their school and advance the subject computer science. "The compilation of existing ideas also gave rise to new, creative approaches that were incorporated into our own teaching materials," says headmaster Jörg Berger. The process resulted in a card-index box containing content for each level and the mixed-age classes. The goal was to make programming a hands-on experience, from kindergarten level to sixth grade. The focus was not on technical skills, but on cooperation at the level of the teachers and, of course, that of the pupils, as well as on creative approaches to problem solving.
All teachers were familiarized with the 'Robot Your Classroom' project as part of an internal school training program. Initial skepticism gave way to curiosity once the teachers themselves had worked through the various tasks, which can be accomplished alone or in groups. Bee-Bots, which are very easy to program, are used in kindergarten and at the lower levels. At the intermediate level, the more complex Ozobots are used.
Laura Hess has been working with her pupils for about a year now, and she says they were "really enthralled". "The fact that we were able to incorporate programming into our teaching in a simple way is a great thing", Laura Hess concludes. "At first, it may take some courage to pick up a robot. But you also need good teaching materials. You should put together the materials which appeal to you and let you find creative solutions, such as the Ozobots."