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Pros: Cozmo encourages play and collaboration while challenging students to experiment with code.
Cons: Limited classroom support leaves teachers on their own to integrate Cozmo into the curriculum.
Bottom Line: From Cozmo's engaging personality to endless programming possibilities, this little robot will capture your heart and spark imagination.
Remember the digital pet Tamagotchi from the '90s? Take that concept of caring for a digital pet, give it a high-tech robot body and the personality of WALL-E, and voilà! you have a Cozmo. For elementary and middle school teachers (of any subject), Cozmo is a great way to get students interested in coding. Make Cozmo your class pet and assign different students daily chores like feeding it, playing with it, and programming games for their classmates to play. In language arts class, involve Cozmo in storytelling, and during math, program Cozmo to create patterns, plot coordinates, or solve problems.
The Code Lab is a great addition to any coding class that's already using Scratch. You must write the code in the app, but then you can use it to control any Cozmo robot (if you have more than one). In Sandbox mode, students can tap any block before adding it to their code and watch Cozmo perform the action in real time. This is a great way to help students visualize their program as they're building it. Students can create interactive games to play with Cozmo or teach Cozmo how to navigate a course or interact with its Cubes.
Editor's Note: Anki was purchased by Digital Dream Labs, and is planning on re-launching the product some time in 2021.
The Cozmo app controls the Cozmo robot by Anki. This small robot is designed for tabletop use and connects to your mobile device by broadcasting its own secure Wi-Fi signal (not a Bluetooth connection). Cozmo comes with a charging station and three Cubes, which are battery-powered blocks that Cozmo interacts with. Cozmo talks, sings, moves around, and lifts its arms. With a built-in camera, it also "senses" its environment and uses facial recognition software to interact with humans.
The app offers a variety of interactive games, an exploration mode, and a Code Lab where you can use block coding to alter Cozmo's existing activities or create new programs from scratch. To play with Cozmo, you have to "feed" and "maintain" it like you would care for a robot or pet in the real world. However, these maintenance activities are just part of the experience, and Cozmo is actually maintenance free, except for battery charging, of course. As you play with Cozmo, you earn "sparks," which you use to unlock new activities within the app.
The Cozmo robot is a great way to get students interested in coding. Cozmo's personality is cute and friendly, appealing to all ages. At the basic level, students will learn about robots -- taking care of them, interacting with them, and how code controls everything about them. Students can explore the possibilities and limitations of robots. You'll discover that Cozmo is actually very sophisticated, both in its software and hardware.
Digging deeper, the Cozmo Code Lab enables students to see the actual lines of code (in block form) that run Cozmo's games. Students can modify the code or create activities from scratch. Sandbox mode is best for beginners, using icon-based blocks that look like ScratchJr. For more advanced programmers, Constructor mode uses familiar Scratch blocks to create programs that can be very powerful and complex.