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October Educator of the Month: Bach to the Music

Last month, we put together a giveaway in honor of Classical Music Month. The goal was to recreate a musical composition using OzoBlockly and Evo. We were thrilled with the submissions that we received, especially from our two winners, Dorota Kowalczyk and Tricia Louis

Louis is one of our beloved Certified Educators and longtime fan of Ozobot, so it was no question that we needed to pick her brain about her background in music and how Evo helps her teach coding to her students! 

Tell us about yourself! What is your job and what inspired you to get into the career you have?

I am a Technology Integrator at the Richland School District. I have been in my current role for four years now, but I am in my 26th year of education. I actually started my career as an Instrumental Music (Band) Teacher. I am a musician and can play pretty much any instrument…including an Ozobot! I transitioned to a role in technology about 7 years ago now, and music is still a huge part of my life, but I am totally enjoying my current position. I absolutely love teaching other teachers (and students) how to integrate technology into their education!

How did you think of creating the musical composition?

Once I got into the blockly programming and figured out the lengths of the notes as they related to musical notation, I decided that the length of 200ms mimicked a 16th note. The Prelude in C is at its core an exercise in sixthteenth notes that are steadily moving across different choral inversions. Inside the eight 16th notes are repeated twice so I built the first eight notes of each measure and then wrapped them in a repeat block (set to twice). I also set a top light color to change for each measure. At the end of the musical snippet, I had the bot do a little “bow” to the audience!

What was the most challenging part about making it, and how did you overcome that obstacle?

Just the sheer number of notes! I only did 9 measures of the piece and that was over 100 blocks that I brought into the OzoBlockly editor!

Can you share with us an example of how your project combined creativity and coding?

Each time a piece of music it is different from anytime before and in the future – so this rendition of J.S. Bach’s Prelude in C is a modern twist in the performance of this piece. I think that by changing the top light color for each measure, it could be a great way for students to also follow along in the music (in case they got lost looking at the sheet music).

How else do you use STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) in everyday life?

Well, art and technology are the heart of everything I do. I use my creative side to enhance everything I do in my job and personal life. My job is definitely tech focused, but tech is a huge part of my home life as well. Just the other day, I enabled the Alexa skill to start my car…how cool is that? So when it is 20 below this winter, I can wake up and ask Alexa to start my car and warm it up! 

What is your favorite Color Code or block of code in OzoBlockly? Did you use it in your creation, and if so how did you incorporate it?

I use the top Color Code in my creation to indicate the change of measure, but with the Evo, I would like to explore further how to change all of the front lights as well!

In addition to having a blast with Ozobots, what do you want kids who may recreate your project to take away from it?

That music and coding are very close to each other…in fact, music notation is a form of coding. If you think about all the things in music like repeats and codas, they totally copy coding routines like repeat blocks or if/then statements! 

How do you see your project being used in the future in different ways? and/or –

Is there a challenge you’d like to issue to the Ozobot community to take your work and do something new based upon your template?

This was a complex project, but it can be used with students as something to aspire to. I think recreating a musical work is great, but what about composing something of your own. I think it would be neat to have students compose music using standard notation and see if they can recreate it using ozoblockly!

How did you first hear about Ozobot and/or first start learning to code?

I have been a fan of Ozobot for a long time. I still have the first bit I bought probably 5 years ago. I used code.org when it first was available as well.  I am always amazed to see how these tools evolve over time.

Besides creating with code, what is your favorite hobby or interest to geek out about in your free time?

I enjoy learning about virtual/augmented reality. I have really gotten into 360 photography and have become a Google Street View Trusted Photographer with over 300 pictures on Google Earth/Maps that have been seen by almost a quarter of a million people!

Have you named your Ozobot? Do you use Evo or bit? 

Oh – I have not named mine…but whenever I take the bots into the classrooms, the kids always name theirs! I use both Evo and Bit!

How would you describe Evo’s or Bit’s personality? 

Fun, with a little attitude! 😁

To check out more of Tricia Louis’s variety of Ozobot projects, follow her on Twitter! And don’t forget…

Coding is Creative!

Tech skills alone don’t spur big ideas—creative visions do. That’s why education at home and in the classroom should span science, technology, engineering, the arts, and math (think STEAM, not STEM). Whether you see yourself as a future artist, astronaut, or entrepreneur, our goal at Ozobot is to kick start your creativity and coding skills with playtime that strengthens your whole mind.

To learn more, explore Ozobot’s 2 Ways to Code:

OzoBlockly >

Color Codes >

For Educators and Students:

OzoBlockly Basic Training >

Color Codes Basic Training >

150+ STEAM Lessons >

Educator of the Month – Official Rules