Community Programming

Young Girl with Ozobot

The Hart Public Library isn’t just helping people read words– it’s inspiring kids to read code as well.

In the early summer of 2018 the public library was able to purchase 18 Ozobots with the help of the Great Lakes Energy People Fund grant program. These tiny robots, which are small enough to fit into a child’s hand, can teach kids from as young as preschool age all the way through high school.

“It was hard to get the word out at first,” Kay Williams, the library’s director says, “but we are now seeing them used more and more.”

Younger students use the robots by simply drawing lines on paper. The robot is then able to read code and follow the path. Once students understand how the robot operates, they are then able to change the way it moves by inserting different color codes. To the children, this is just play, but they benefit by learning the concept of coding. For those who are older, they can utilize an app for the robot that teaches them more complex codes and instructions.

 

And the community is excited. Currently, the robots are being used by a local preschool program until the end of March. Mary Hiddema, the preschool teacher, emphasizes the excitement the kids have for the program. And she isn’t the only teacher interested. Increasingly, local teachers are asking how they can use the robots for their classroom as well.

The benefit of the Ozobots being offered by the library is that they have a wider range to be used within the community.

“If they were purchased by individual schools, then only teachers would have access,” Williams says. “With the $1,000 grant from the GLE People Fund, we were able to make them available to anyone who has a library card and groups like Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and homeschooling groups.”

These little machines continue to make for happier patrons and smarter students – all thanks to the People Fund.