Review by Melissa Powers, Common Sense Education | Updated February 2018
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Evo by Ozobot

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Versatile mini robot tailor-made for teaching coding

Subjects & skills

  • Critical Thinking
Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
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Pros: Students earn experience points for every action, providing encouragement to students apprehensive about coding.

Cons: Programming Evo requires the app and a web browser, adding a data transfer step that could be frustrating for students.

Bottom Line: Evo encourages students to be creative, emphasizing that coding is a tool in your pocket, not the end game.

Evo by Ozobot was designed for classroom use, and there's an Ozobot lesson library, an OzoBlog, and professional development webinars dedicated to helping teachers use the robots to support learning. The Evo Experience Pack, which teaches about Color Codes, is a great place to start. By drawing paths and codes with markers, students can learn the basics of programming. Color Codes are also a great way to reinforce something that may seem abstract in the digital world by bringing it into the physical world. OzoBlockly uses Google's Blockly visual editor to write programs that are loaded to the robot via the Evo app.

The Ozobot lesson library is a growing collection of Ozobot and teacher-created lessons for grades K-8. In addition to the expected computer science lessons, you'll find topics that range from storytelling to planetary alignment to determining the value of pi. Students can explore creative possibilities in the Get Inspired and Share Your Ideas sections in the Evo app or on the Ozobot YouTube channel. Some of these ideas include creating a maze, a racetrack, and a capture-the-flag game.

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Evo by Ozobot is a miniature robot with lights, sound, sensors, and wheels. It's designed to teach children how to code. Evo can be controlled with a joystick (in-app) or programmed with OzoBlockly, a web-based visual programming editor. Evo can also follow colored lines on white paper, where different color combinations give the robot specific commands such as U-turn, go fast/slow, or spin in a circle. Like its predecessor, Bit, Evo can be programmed without the mobile app. With the app, you can also drive Evo with Drive Mode, play interactive games, and earn experience points to unlock additional features. You can control multiple Evos simultaneously from the app, but only one user can be connected to an individual robot at a time. Users need an Evo account to access all app features. There's also a social feature enabling you to connect and chat with friends (with special protections for children under 13). The Evo Experience Pack with starter activities and stickers can be ordered separately for free from the Ozobot website.

Evo by Ozobot is a versatile coding tool with three ways to program and hundreds of applications. How do you know where to start or which programming option to choose? Rely on the app, the starter experience pack, and the teacher guide to get you started. Once students learn the basics of how Evo works, let their interests and creativity be your guide. Evo offers something for every learner: Novice programmers can learn to code with Color Codes while advanced students can program with logic, variables, and functions and make the most of Evo's light and proximity sensors. Unfortunately, Evo has a short battery life (60 minutes max), making it difficult to use in back-to-back classes.  

Coding is often seen as a solitary activity. Because of their tiny size and programming ease, Evos are great for collaboration. Students can work together to program multiple Evos to interact, play a game, or solve a problem together. Though the app's Friends feature is currently just a distracting messaging service, hopefully Ozobot will soon add the ability to share code or send programs to a friend's Evo.

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Customization and gamification create a unique interactive experience that stands out from a traditional coding curriculum.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

With multiple approaches to coding, Evo engages students on their level and then grows with them to develop confident programmers.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

In-app guidance, how-to videos, accessible customer support, and an extensive educator community provide a wealth of information for students and teachers.

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