Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Beetle Blocks Visual Code for 3D Design

The other day I added a new entry to my blog post listing drag and drop programming languages. It is based on Scratch and Snap! which many teachers are already using to teach programming. Beetle Blocks adds something different – drawing in three dimensions. Not only that but one can export the results in forms usable in 3D printers.

I find this exciting for several reasons but the big one is the move from the virtual works of the screen to the physical world using 3D printers. Creating something that you can actually touch has got to excite some students. The possibilities seem virtually (no pun intended) unlimited. Plus maybe it is a justification for computer science teachers who want a 3D printer but who could not justify it before. Just saying.

Beetle Blocks is all web based (seems to work best with Chrome at least now that it is in the early stages of development) so it can be used anywhere and without software installations. It’s similarity with Scratch and Snap! should make for a lower learning curve for teachers and students already familiar with those languages.

I just started playing with it myself but I’ve told a few others who use 3D printing for other classes about it. They seem pleased with the idea of incorporating coding, along with the CAD tools many of them already use, to the mix.

Anyone else using it in class? I’d love to hear how it is being used.

Note that I learned about this from Doug Peterson’s excellent blog. Yet another example of how people sharing what they have learned about online helps others discover valuable resources and ideas.

3 comments:

Garth said...

Really cool once they get it sorted out. I cannot get the dropdowns on any block to drop. Works for the kids. Must be a browser issue. Time to tinker.

Garth said...

Have success. Oh this is cool. I am going to lose hours in this. Bad Alfred, bad.

Alfred Thompson said...

Garth, keeping life interesting for you is one of my goals in life. :-) Beetle Blocks seems to work best with Chrome BTW.