Eduporium Experiment | Bloxels Pt. 2
Bloxels is in a field of its own. Why? It empowers students as young as five years old to try their hand at video game design. Seriously, students from grades K-8 can build an entire video game from scratch with Bloxels’ blocks and gameboard! It’s a totally hands-on experience during which students use the different colored blocks to design layouts, characters, and graphics on their 13x13 gameboard for their very own video game. Bloxels truly demystifies video game design by simplifying the process to building with blocks.
Each student’s game can have up to 169 stages, or rooms, with each room made up of 169 game elements. Each block represents a different design element. Green blocks are terrain, blue blocks are water, red blocks are hazards, yellow blocks are coins, purple blocks are enemies, pink blocks are power-ups, orange blocks are exploding terrain, and white blocks are story blocks, which allow students to add text bubbles to their design!
To get started, all they have to do is download the Bloxels Builder app on an iOS or Android device and take a picture of their gameboard using the app’s camera. The picture of their gameboard design, whether it be the background or the hero of the game, will automatically load into the Bloxels game ready to go! Students can not only play their game within the app, but also edit their layouts and even animate their characters to interact with different game elements. I started by creating my own background layout made up of all the different game elements like terrain, power-ups, coins, and enemies. I took a picture of my board within the app and saw it load instantly to the screen!
Lining up the board for the photo was slightly tricky, so I can imagine younger students needing some guidance during this part, but, ultimately, it was manageable. They also shouldn’t worry if their camera doesn’t recognize every block because they can add it right in on the app to perfectly reflect what is on their board. Students can then go on to decorate and configure their board to change how the elements appear in the game and even decide which type of power-ups they want to include. I had a really fun time designing my board, customizing it within the app, and playing my very own video game. There is really so much to do within the app and the design possibilities are endless with the gameboard. Students can truly bring any story they imagine to life with Bloxels!
Bloxels has even created a free online Getting Started Guide with connections to standards to get teachers started on that first day. They have a classroom pack as well with multiple gameboards, guidebooks, and a detailed Educator’s Handbook with lesson plans. It also provides access to the Bloxels EDU Hub, where students can make individual accounts for teachers to manage (and track progress coming this year!). The EDU Hub also features lesson plans, activities, and challenges with lots of product support to help teachers integrate Bloxels into their classroom. A great plus is that there is no software to download or experience with coding necessary!
Bloxels can help leverage students’ love for video games in a very productive way! To purchase Bloxels for your classroom, makerspace, or home, click here to visit the Eduporium store. Also, look out next Wednesday for the newest edition of the Eduporium Experiment! In the meantime, don't forget to follow us on Twitter and Instagram for more, check out other cool EdTech tools in our store, and you might as well like us on Facebook, too!