Google Project Bloks
Realized that the world needs regeneration of IT practitioners, Google create tangible programming experiences for kids to learn computational thinking. Hopefully, the project named Bloks could bring a solid platform for developers, designers, and educators, to provide programming closer to children.
Project Bloks is a modular system made up of three main components: the brain board, base boards, and pucks. The pucks are programmed with different instructions (such as “turn on/off,” “move a direction,” or “increase an amount.”) The function of the puck is represented by a simple design, such as an arrow for direction. The puck itself contains no actual electronics, just a capitative ID that can be read and identified by the base board once the puck is placed on it. The base boards can then be connected to a brain board, which provides all connected boards with power and allows the boards to communicate each other and send the pucks’ instructions to an output device (such as a toy, tablet, or speaker) via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.
The Google Project Bloks boards can be arranged in any way the user wants, just like building blocks. The application can perform many other tasks such as become a remote control, speakers or light switch.
Cited from TechCrunch, there has been a big interest in tangible programming among educators, though research has been slow. The Bloks team said they has hard time experimenting with tangible programming because it takes a lot of engineering work — and hence money — to build one of these platforms from scratch. And the Director of the Transformative Learning Technologies Lab at Stanford University say that is what this Google Project Bloks will enable: make it easy to think outside of the box, without all the technical obstacles.