Google’s New Toy Will Teach Kids To Code
Project Bloks aims to create tangible programming experiences for children
Although it is a relatively new project, Google was inspired and utilized past research and experiences to bring this project alive and active. Thus far, they have built toys that are made up of electronic boards and pucks that are activated through tangible programming. The project is based around what we already know about children: they love playing with toys.
The system is comprised of three different components. Pucks, Base Boards and the Brain Board. Pucks are what can be programmed with instructions, such as to ‘turn on’ or ‘move right.’ Base Boards connect to Pucks and they read the Puck’s instructions. The Brain Board provides the power and connects multiple Base Boards. This allows for instructions to be read and sent via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to any connected devices. These boards come together and can be covered with any materials to create a vast number of experiences. Project Bloks gives a few examples of what can be created, such as a coding kit, which allows children to put a physical code together to send instructions to toys. For example, getting a robot to create art.
Currently, Google has worked with more than 150 children and multiple leaders in relevant fields such as computer science, education and user experience. Research, user feedback and opinions of thought-leaders are all coming together to continuously fuel this project.
Google wants to create an accessible way for all children to learn more about computer programming. Although there are many older students already learning about computer science, Project Bloks aims to be a platform where designers can create tangible coding languages and kits for children. Hopefully, it will become an open platform that makes it easy for children to learn how to code. In turn, kids will be able to grow computational thinking skills from a young age that will expand their future outlook.