I started out reading the manual and watching the very helpful instructional videos, while Lionheart dived right in. I couldn't convince him to watch the videos, which we later referenced. Instead, he wanted to tinker and figure it out on his own. The beauty of Bloxels is that it allowed him to do just that. While I was watching tutorials and trying to figure out how it worked, Lionheart had downloaded the app to his Ipod and made his first figure. He’s the big picture, hands on guy, while I am the detailed, step-by-step, read all the instructions, watch all the videos first, gal.
What is it?
Bloxels is a user-friendly, kid-friendly game creation program that allows children to combine creativity and technology to produce their very own video games. Best of all, it doesn't involve coding. For right-brain, top down learners like my son, Bloxels' intuitive platform allows him to learn in the way he learns best, by doing.
The Bloxels kit comes with a physical pixel board where game designs are created. There are 320 colored blocks that each represent a different aspect of the game world. Green is for land, blue is for water, purple is for enemy and so on. Although I am clueless about Minecraft, I have watched my son play and the building aspect of Bloxels reminds me of Minecraft, only more hands-on.
How does it work?
As Lionheart sped through the creation of his first character, it was obvious that Bloxels was easier for him to figure out than it was for me. Since my brain doesn't work that way, I had to dissect it first. Here's what I found. There are essentially only 4 easy steps: Build (using the colored blocks and the black pixel board), Design (edit in the app), Capture (take a picture of your creation with your device), Play & Share (online with other Bloxel game creators). Your child can create as many characters as he wants, vary the terrain and design 129 different rooms, all with colored blocks. Once the game is done, your child can save in the app, share with other users and start the design process all over again. Though Lionheart quickly discovered that he could design with the app without using the 13 x 13 pixel board to create, I really wanted him to have that tactile experience because the real fun is in the hands-on design process. The app is available for IOS, Android and even Kindle Fire!
Bloxels Lesson Plans
If you'd like to have a more guided experience, the Bloxels website has fun lesson plans already written. Lesson 1 is all about the Design Process, which explores the concept of "empathy" of all things. How in the world are empathy and technology related? Well, in order to design something that will be of use to someone other than yourself, you have to think of what someone other than yourself would like. Click here for more lesson plans. If your child needs a creative kickstart, this Bloxel Guide Book will come in handy.