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March Educator of the Month: Girls with Grit A-Maze Bit!

Women’s History Month reminds us to honor #girlswhocode and women in STEAM everywhere. Enter our March Educator of the Month, Lauren Jones a.k.a. @LibrarianJonesy.

We love her Twitter handle almost as much as we love what she’s doing with Ozobot Bit in her library. Read on to learn about a fun maze activity you can try too, with your Bit or Evo!

Tell us about yourself! What is your job and what inspired you to get into the career you have?

This is my 11th year in education. I taught 3rd/4th grade. I was a writing instructional coach, and now I’m in my third year as a librarian. This is my first year in middle school and I am loving it! I knew I wanted to be a librarian because they are one of few people on campus that have the opportunity to reach every student. Of course, I’m passionate about reading, but also about helping students develop their own ability to problem-solve, think critically, and collaborate with others.

How did you think of creating the project?

My technology facilitator, Tai Preuninger, challenged me to choose a micro-credential to work on this semester and I chose coding. I know this is a popular topic for most libraries and I don’t feel super confident in this area. I chose a project with Ozobots for a few reasons. One: I knew they could be block coded which a lot of our students are familiar with from Hour of Code. Also, I chose the Ozobots for my first project because they are affordable enough for me to purchase multiple bots for our students to use. I wanted students to create a maze because it would allow them to incorporate some creativity into their project.

What was the most challenging part about making it, and how did your students overcome the obstacle?

I think the most challenging part for our students was coding the bot through the maze. Since they had pieced together old cardboard boxes and some of them used decoupage to decorate, it affected the way the bot moved through the maze. You could see some frustration along the way, but it also allowed them the opportunity to overcome some adversity, and they did!

Can you share an example of how your project combined creativity and coding?

I certainly think the creativity came in when designing their mazes. There was trial and error as they designed the mazes and then made sure they fit the expectations (including a dead end and a minimum number of turns). They then had to write the code for their Ozobot to move through their maze successfully.

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What is your favorite Color Code or block of code in OzoBlockly? Did you use it in your creation, and if so how did you incorporate it?

When I worked at an elementary campus we loved using the color coding, but now that I’m on a middle school campus we focus on OzoBlockly because it gives them more of a challenge. For this challenge, the students created an account on OzoBlockly to save their code from day-to-day as they had time to write it. This is what they used on the last day to show their Ozobots could complete their maze.

How do you see your project being used in the future in different ways?

I asked my students if I could keep their mazes to use as challenges in the future. I could see having coding tournaments where groups are timed on how long it takes them to code a maze and progressively work through more difficult mazes.

How did you first hear about Ozobot and start learning to code?

I’m pretty sure I heard about Ozobot at TCEA a couple of years ago. I’ve played with writing code since becoming a librarian in 2015, mostly through Hour of Code.

Besides creating with code, what is your favorite hobby or interest to geek out about in your free time?

In my free time, I’m a social reader. I think everyone should be social about their reading. I love talking to anybody about what I’m reading and finding out what they recommend for me.

How would you describe Bit’s personality?

Bit has a fun personality! You can make them dance, light up, and so much more. My students think they are just so cute because they’re so tiny.

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Thank you, Lauren, for inspiring creativity and coding in your library! Follow Lauren on Twitter to see more of her students’ Ozobot creations. And don’t forget…

Coding is Creative!

Tech skills alone don’t spur big ideas—creative visions do. That’s why education at home and in the classroom should span science, technology, engineering, the arts, and math (think STEAM, not STEM). Whether you see yourself as a future artist, astronaut, or entrepreneur, our goal at Ozobot is to kick start your creativity and coding skills with playtime that strengthens your whole mind.

To learn more, explore Ozobot’s 2 Ways to Code:
OzoBlockly >
Color Codes >

For Educators and Students:
OzoBlockly Basic Training >
Color Codes Basic Training >
150+ STEAM Lessons >

Educator of the Month – Official Rules

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