Magic Happens When Technology and Creativity Meet!
Under the slogan “teachers learning”, she.codes, a non-profit organization that offers coding workshops for young school girls, collaborated with SAP in an event to explore the magic of MicroBlocks, a blocks programming language for physical computing co-developed with SAP. In a 3-hour online event, the coaches from she.codes were exposed to this playful and powerful learning environment which connects the virtual with the physical world, tested the functionalities of MircroBlocks and the corresponding coding environment, and gave free rein to their creativity by creating and programming really cool art crafts!
After a warm welcome and a short self-presentation of all participants, Bernat Romagosa, co-founder of MicroBlocks who works as a software engineer at the SAP Young Thinkers team, gave a brief introduction to the idea behind MicroBlocks, and introduced them to all the functionalities and the coding environment.
The participants found particularly helpful the real time testing feature, where you can compile written code directly while the microcontroller is connected to the computer without saving and downloading it prior. Moreover, they loved to discover the connectivity to other controllers, which provides the opportunity to work in more complex projects.
Bernat also provided a list of musical notes for jingles. With this, you could make your
MicroBlocks play songs when a sensor was activated.
The next part in the session was hands-on, and the participants had the chance to write their
own program combined with their pre-assembled projects, including the following creative ideas:
– Happy birthday to me! One participant, who had her birthday the next day, made a crafted figurine that sings ‘happy birthday’ when you snap and displays birthday greetings with the integrated LED lights.
– Another idea was to program a clock with the time and an integrated stopwatch. The
MicroBlock measures the time and displays it via the LEDs.
– Additionally, one of the coaches came up with the idea to have a digital friend in the form of an owl, where the MicroBlock displays greetings and a heart using the LED lights when you press certain sensors on the MicroBlock:
– With the Party Rhino you can make a little dance by performing some mechanical movements while it plays some music having the MicroBlocks attached on its back:
It’s the combination of tinkering and engineering, that offers the perfect opportunity to combine code and real-world material.
To conclude, the coaches from she.codes had an amazing experience during the workshop and can’t wait to integrate MicroBlocks into the she.codes workshops, sharing our experiences with younger school girls. Both MicroBlocks and she.codes follow the vision of inspiring young people to code and have fun. This workshop has definitively been a great introduction and an awesome learning experience.
A special thanks to Lena Stempfle from she.codes, for putting so much effort in helping us organize the workshop, to all she.codes coaches, for their passion and creativity. and of course to Bernat, for sharing his knowledge and hosting such a successful workshop!