Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Yet More Block Programming Languages

I saw this announcement on Facebook first but I probably just missed seeing it on the email list. At this stage I have to wonder why? Why more of the same? Do we really know that these languages work and if so for what definition of “work?”

From Dr. Jeff Gray at the University of Alabama via the SIGCSE mailing list:

We would like to announce the availability of two new Blockly-based languages that may be of interest to CS educators:

  •  Spherly is a web-based programming environment that allows programs to be written using a block language to control a Sphero robot. Project URL:
  • Pixly provides a block language for exploring topics in media computation; particularly, the manipulation of pixels within an image to support red-eye removal, chroma key, etc.  Project URL:

Both projects can be run from within a browser (Spherly requires a provided server to be executing on a local machine for Bluetooth contact to the Sphero). Each project page has links to a demonstration video, a user manual, a Google Groups users forum, related links, and a “run” link for executing each environment.

For completeness I did add these to my Programming With Blocks post.

1 comment:

Jeff said...

When we started Spherly, kids were mainly using Spheros just as remote control devices, and the macro language seemed a bit lacking. We wanted to provide a programming language environment for Spheros that was accessible to middle schoolers.

With Pixly, we wanted an environment to explore the concepts of media comp (the pixel manipulation part) at the middle school level without asking students to get bogged down in syntax issues. Are there any other alternatives to this for this age group (to the question "why another?")

There has not yet been any assessment with these two languages. They were created as block languages to help remove some of the challenges of syntax that many in this age group could experience as first learners.