Google just launched a new hardware initiative, Project Bloks, with the aim of expanding youth exposure to coding principles through “tangible coding.” Unlike the software-based coding systems mobile app developers who work with kids might be familiar with, tangible coding systems represent coding concepts — objects, binaries, if/then statements — as physical objects that can be connected and rearanged in creative ways to accomplish different tasks.
What’s most compelling about Project Bloks, however, is that it’s an open-source system. Google spokespeople say the inititiave is not an attempt to monetize or enter the toy industry, but rather a tool to encourage third-party developers to conduct research and build unique tech products for kids. Said Paulo Blikstein of the Transofmative Technologies Lab at Standford University, “Imagine what could happen if we had 10 times more people developing ways for children to learn coding and computational thinking: not just the traditional way, but kits that would teach programming in different ways such as making music or controlling the physical world.”
That, in a nutshell, is what this is about — lowering the barrier to entry for companies and individual developers looking to enter the EdTech space. As it is, costs for these companies tend to be quite high. Hardware isn’t cheap, and building the backbone system needed for “tangible coding” toys is identified as an unneccessary hurdle. Rather than reinvent the wheel, enterprising EdTech mobile app developers can now use the Project Bloks system as the base for their own products and research.
While Google’s promotional materials show switches and dials on top of the core “boards” that make up the system, there are endless ways a creative designer could make use of these versatile building blocks.
EdTech and computer science education is a hot topic among Los Angeles mobile app development companies, and it’s hoped that tools like these will continue to grow accessibility for kids in tech through the coming years.Tags: Android, code for kids, EdTech, experiential learning, Google, Google projects, iPhone app developer, kid code, Los Angeles tech, mobile, mobile apps, Project Bloks, stem education, tangible code, tech, tech ed, tech education