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What is Blockly?

When I first heard the term “blockly” I thought I’d heard “broccoli” and I remembered a comment made by the first President Bush when he came under fire from the dietary fascists for reportedly banning broccoli from the White House:

I do not like broccoli. And I haven't liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I'm President of the United States and I'm not going to eat any more broccoli!

You will be glad to know that “BLOCKLY” isn’t a vegetable, and unlike the vegetable it rhymes with, kids do like it. If it had been around when he was a kid, even the elder President Bush might have liked it. Which it wasn’t. Development of Blockly wasn’t even began until the summer of 2011, and was introduced to the public at the May 2012 Maker Faire in San Mateo, California.

Quoting from our Wiki friends, “Blockly is a client-side JavaScript library for creating visual block programming editors. It is a project of Google and is open-source under the Apache 2.0 License. It runs in a web browser, and resembles Scratch.”

“Client-side” means Blockly was developed for kids at home or at school with their own browsers.  As noted in the Wiki definition, Blockly resembles the earlier childrens’ coding language Scratch,  developed by  the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).  A “JavaScript library” defines a location where a number of pre-written JavaScript programs are found. The “visual block programming editors” from which Blockly takes its name is a user interface that resembles a child’s box of multi-shaped, multi-colored blocks.  There is a toolbox which holds the blocks. There’s a workspace and a trashcan. As in the video below, the blocks are taken out of the toolbox one at a time until the solution to a particular problem--a maze in this case-- is reached. The program is then run, and if the solution was correct....  If it isn’t, go back and look for the error.

 

 

 

 Unless our young people are given every chance to learn to think creatively, reason systematically and work collaboratively, their employment hopes for the coming years are in danger. Learning coding language skills with the help of tools like Blockly are a step in the right direction for a nation that hopes to thrive in the 21st Century. And it’s fun! At least my nine-year-old grandson thinks so...IMG_0369.jpg

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  • Jun 17, 2016 1:59:35 PM

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