Google launches a new open hardware platform for teaching kids to code
Google want to get code into more children’s hands. The tech giant has launched a new hardware platform aimed at teaching young kids how to code. Known as Project Bloks, the platform will allow developers, designers and educators to build physical programming experiences that can help kids learn the principle of code.
Google says the project is inspired by previous academic work in the field and is still in active research.
‘’Ultimately, our goal is to enable kids to develop computational thinking (a set of foundational problem-solving skills) from a young age through coding experiences that are playful, tactile, and collaborative.’’ Google said. ‘’Creating an open platform for designers, developers and researchers will remove the technical barriers that get in their way: so they can focus on innovating, experimenting, and creating new ways to help kids develop computational thinking.’’
The platform is made up of three parts: pucks, Base Boards, and the Brain Board. Pucks, according to Google have different forms, interactivity and can be programmed with different instructions like turn on/off, move left, jump, play music. When the puck is placed onto a Base Board, the board reads that puck’s instructions through capacitive sensor. Multiple Base Boards can be connected together.
The Brain Board on the other hand provides power and connectivity. When multiple Base Boards are connected to the Brain Board, it can read their instructions and send them via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to connected devices. The Brain Board is built on a Raspberry Pi Zero.
This is indeed a noble idea from Google and they say the reason they are doing this is because they believe creating an open platform for designers, developers, and researchers will remove the technical barriers that get in their way: so they can focus on innovating, experimenting, and creating new ways to teach computational thinking to kids.
The program is still in it’s early days but Google says it will be testing a reference design at a small group of schools. It also says it will be conducting more research in the coming weeks into the opportunities for tangible programming and Bloks platform.