Tiny library-dwelling robots are helping kids learn the basics of coding.
The Southern Oklahoma Library system is offering free classes for kids ages 8 and older featuring ozobots, small robots that can follow simple color-coded commands, as a way of introducing children to programming.
The Ardmore class will be held at 4 p.m., Oct. 10 at Champion Public Library. Katie Carter, with Champion Public Library in Ardmore, said the class gets across the very basics without getting too complicated.
“They’re tiny robots that look at a sequence of colors,” Carter said. “You would turn them on and they would read a sequence of colors and be able to do a command based on that sequence.”
The kids will start with a blank piece of paper and templates that tell them which color patterns do what.
 Then, they can use markers to draw their sequences on the paper, and sensors on the bottom of the robot read the colors as it rolls over them. For example, blue-black-blue tells the ozobot to speed up, while red-black-red tells it to slow down.
“This is a very basic way of thinking about how you put commands together in a computer,” Carter said. “It’s a really easy way for kids to set in their minds that you would have to command certain things to happen in a computer, you would have to troubleshoot if something wasn’t working.”
As they progress, the sequences get more elaborate and groups can start linking their paths together.
“Sequencing those things together, that’s kind of the point,” Carter said. “Now you have this long list of things you’ve put together to make something happen at the end.”
Carter said she first encountered ozobots while working on her master’s, and the little robots have proven popular among teenagers who come to the library on Friday afternoons to learn about 3-D printing.
“The robots can race each other, they do different things at different times based on what it picks up,” Carter said. “There are a lot of possibilities as far as what you can do.”
Carter said she plans to hold classes in Tishomingo, Sulphur and Healdton in October and classes in Marietta and Davis in November.  The classes are free, but space is limited. Reservations for the Ardmore class can be made by calling Champion Public Library at 580-223-3164.