When we set out to make it possible for kids to make their own video games, we didn’t know exactly what would happen. What we did know was we wanted to give them the power that we didn’t have as kids – to turn what they imagined into a playable video game. It was hard then, and the idea of turning a sketch and a story into something your friends could play seemed impossible. We wanted to change that.
And we did – first with Floors, and then with Bloxels. We’ve seen kids create countless games and tell stories that otherwise wouldn’t have had a way to come to light. The Infinity Wall (our sharing platform) is covered with constellations of their art, and we’re continually surprised by their ingenuity and what they can make happen with a board, blocks, and their imagination. As a team, one of our favorite things to do is to pass coordinates of a new game around the office to marvel at what a user has created.
But what has surprised us even more over the past two years has been what teachers have done with Bloxels in their schools. Educators are resourceful people, and they saw something in Bloxels that prompted them to start trying it out in their classrooms, libraries, and maker spaces. They’ve used Bloxels in lessons ranging from language arts to geometry. They’ve used it to teach storytelling, and as a way for students to show what they know about any subject, from history to mathematics.
What started as a few innovative teachers picking up Bloxels and running with it, has now become the core of our company and our direction going forward. We’ve used the past year to listen and learn from them- how they are using it, what they love about it, and what else they need from such a platform- and now we’re proud to announce the results of that effort: Bloxels EDU.
Bloxels EDU is an all-new app and Educator Hub, built from the ground-up for the classroom.
Through the Hub, educators can see what their students are creating, send them feedback, and award great work with badges that are built-in or customized by the teacher.
In the app, students can collaborate to build their games by using the Class Library, and have a richer, more intuitive set of builder tools to make their games and stories.
One example of a new game element is the Character Swap Power-up. When students use this in their games, they can change the main character of the story. This simple tool allows for both more powerful story and game creation- a little hero can become big, or a caterpillar can become a butterfly. We can’t wait to see what students create with this.
One other thing that educators have asked for is more resources- more ways to use Bloxels, and across different subjects. So as part of Bloxels EDU, we’ve released a new Educator Handbook, and new Student Workbooks, which guide students through activities in story creation, collaboration, and common subjects.
Bloxels EDU is new software, but it works with existing Bloxels boards and blocks. And for educators who were early adopters of the Hub, we’ll migrate your membership to Bloxels EDU.
We announced Bloxels EDU at ISTE this year, and it has been invaluable working with our private Beta community of testers throughout to make sure we’re ready of the start of the school year. We’re looking ahead to a busy fall, when we will be helping get new and existing educators up and running with the new platform, and most importantly- checking out the new games that students make!
To learn more about Bloxels EDU visit the website here.