I promised a robot round up and here it is. I have had enough time with these bots to feel able to give them a full run down for you. I will introduce each bot and talk about what I think are its strengths and weaknesses. Enjoy
mBot is one of the first bots that I got. I was really impressed with the build quality and also the service that Makerblock offered me. I had some issues with the remote and they sent me a new one right away. mBot is arduino based, like most of the bots on this list, made of very strong aluminium and packed with tons of sensors. I really love that mBot is something that you build when it comes because I really think that building the bot helps students to understand how all the sensors, motors and control systems interact. Not to worry though, no soldering is involved. Makerblock has made it very easy to build with plug and click connectors.
I also love the amazing apps that allow you to interact with mBot. Its app mBlock (for Mac/PC/Chomebook/iOS and Android) is amazing! I really like the story mode for its mobile apps where you progress through a little story while learning about the functions of mBot and how to program it. I am really happy to see the Chromebook app because many robot companies tie their bots either PC or Mac and forget that many schools are moving towards the lowcost and high return world of Chromebook adoption.
I really love mBot and have personally recommended them to dozens of parents to buy for their children to learn about coding. mBot goes to show that you don't need something flashy or gimicky to reach students.
Ozobot is a bot that I have been working with a lot in the past month. This is because I am designing a summer coding camp for my school centered around this bot. One of the big reasons that we picked Ozobot for this is because of the low cost balanced with some great room for students to expand their learning of coding. Ozobot uses a basic line following system that is augmented by a color based coding system that allows students to control their Ozobot. Ozobot also has a great online blocks based (scratch like) at www.ozoblockly.com.
Ozobot is great for very young kids to get into robots and see how they can actually code a bot to do what they want. They are tough, cute and best of all they work very very well.
Sphero is by far one of the coolest robots on this list. Kids go crazy about this little robot inside a clear polycarbonate ball rolling around. I think that as a teacher one should seize on this WOW factor to draw kids in and then show them how programming makes Sphero SPRK+ so much fun. That being said, I have found that the complexity of Sphero makes it harder for young kids to master and therefore they lose interest in the coding side of it. The fact that Sphero SPRK+ is so advanced and forward thinking makes it harder to control and make do what you want. This is great for GROWTH MINDSET but is tricky to keep kids who are not confident engaged.