I was excited to receive my package with Bloxels so I could get started
playing designing. Bloxels is another resource to add to teaching digital skills with students, and while not so much technically ‘coding’, it still involves many of the same principles and has an emphasis on creation and design. It is the mix of the tactile use of blocks with the iPad app that I find particularly interesting and students will love.
It requires logic, creative thinking and strategic planning and encourages students to design their own games not just play them. The ability to test their own designs immediately and to also see how other users interact with their games, allows students to gain a deeper understanding of game design and design thinking.
There are sample games and beginner challenges, and for teachers there are lesson plans and resources on the Bloxels Edu website.
Is Bloxels coding? It is not technically ‘code’ in the sense of creating algorithms, but the colour-coded blocks essentially are a block of code that commands the app to create the element to match the block, so in a way it is ‘block coding’ in design. In addition, it develops skills that are important in coding if you are designing games or any user interface, as it encourages you to think about design and how users interact with your product. The addition of the Codeboard feature allows you to create behaviour for certain blocks, which also adds more complexity and is more like ‘coding’.
You can also design straight from the app without the blocks, or make corrections, but the hands-on interface with the blocks appeals to students. The first task I gave was to create a character. The feature I love here is the ability to see the animation of the character in the bottom left when you create different character poses.
This is another great tool to add to ICT resources for teaching coding and programming design in schools, with some great educational resources for teachers and an emphasis on creation and design.