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Tiny robots drive big learning at the library

Tiny robots have taken up residence at Spokane Public Libraries.

Ozobots are little round robots, not much bigger than an inch in diameter. They can be used to teach children about coding, said youth services librarian Jill Young. Children can draw lines in different colors to get the robots to move in certain ways.

The robots arrived in the fall and are circulating through the different library branches in the city. For the next couple of weeks they’ll be at the Indian Trail and Hillyard libraries for classes for children in second through fifth grades.

The first week’s class is Ozobots Exploration. The following week, children can apply the skills they learned in Ozobots: Puzzle it Out.

Young, who has led some of the Ozobot classes at Shadle, said kids and parents were intrigued with the robots.

“They’re fairly small, but they’re easy to operate. The kids pick up on them quickly,” she said.

“The younger the child, the more playlike the interaction was; a little older and they get more analytical.”

Beyond the classes, the library has a few Ozobots that families can check out and bring home for more experimentation.

Young said it’s important for the library to have technology like the Ozobots. While some area schools have them or similar things, not all do, and having them at the library opens up the opportunity to everyone, she said.

And, they’re a good learning experience, Young said. Especially because things don’t always go as planned.

“They’re not perfect. I think many of us think robots will be perfect.”

Kimberly Lusk


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