10 Improvements to the App Maker

Our improvements today are all about usability & accessibility on the App Maker. These will be arriving late in the day (Friday 23rd Sept) for most schools in all countries 🙂

  1. New platform wide Font for easier reading (pic)
  2. Trimmed and simplified language in Widgets descriptions
  3. Icons added to improve interface & familiarity with widgets (pic)
  4. Widget Tips made easier to read for IWB and laptop users (pic)
  5. More space to write your feedback to children in app feedback
  6. More feedback when moving a widget in the Drop zone
  7. LITE gets the Switch Control Panel removed to make life simpler for Office 365 Education and Google Apps for Education & RM Unify schools
  8. You no longer get logged out when you change your password
  9. Teachers choose what happens to a .blip project template (pic)
  10. Blippit arrives faster on screens now via HTTP/2 (tech)

Get this ready-to-import Heart Fitness Blippit App Project Template

We’re aiming to help with scaffolding learning in the classroom using app making as the vehicle across any area of the curriculum.  Children love making and publishing apps so why not?

Below you’ll see a screenshot of Planet Blippit where we’ve published a template project app for children to adapt and make their own. Here’s how YOU can do this for any topic and any subject.

To get the Heart Fitness App Project Template

  1. download it from Planet BlippitBlippit Academy or directly here
  2. follow this video of how to download then upload a template into Blippit App Maker.

.app template heart fitness

Linking the real world with the classroom just got easier with Blippit

We are starting to talk with organisations outside of school to explore collaborative projects that unlock knowledge and skills in the work place to build bridges with schools.

The projects that we’re most keen on just now have a clear learning legacy in the form of reusable digital app & code project templates that will continue to benefit schools after a project formally comes to an end.

We see a big opportunity for willing organisations to create, amongst other things, their own collection of project app templates that would be downloaded/uploaded & remixed/developed by students from the company website, Planet Blippit or wherever works best.

Wrapped around these projects are some other nice ideas such as beaming expertise into the classroom using Blippit’s school network friendly secure video conferencing tool ‘Spotlight’.  We want to put learning truly in the Spotlight and let children benefit from having a professional and critical audience from beyond their usual environment.

If your organisation would like to talk about an education project idea do get in touch with us via support@blippit.co.uk with initial ideas/questions.

Byte at the Museum

Yesterday I took Blippit to the National Museum of Computing – immediate neighbour of Bletchley Park.  To be invited as part of their Bytes Festival and work directly with their visiting families surrounded by such history was not half-bad.

Out of school you get such an insight into how parents relate to their children and learning as a whole.  They share insights with you quite openly and comment on your limitless patience with their child who frankly drives them nuts most of the time.

There’s noone marking, setting targets or observing when it’s just you and a family which makes for some very natural and easy steps forwards.  One young man (Year 3) made an app and learned what HTML 5 markup language was as he worked with me on the side and his mum making encouraging comments as he progressed. To say he was ‘off his seat’ with excitement when he saw his app on mum’s phone (she downloaded a QR code reader to get it) is an understatement.

Another young man’s Dad regaled me with stories of his son’s disengagement at school contrasting with his persistence, resilience and immersion in his favoured world of technology.  It’s not an unusual story and we all know children like this but seeing how he learned was interesting.  Essentially it was broadly like this

  • “listen to the expert”
  • “grab the basics”
  • “build and try out”
  • “go over bits as needed with expert again”
  • “build towards a result”
  • “publish”
  • “improve on published app”
  • “re-publish”

I’ve been lucky (no doubt about that) to teach in many different schools and environments over the years sometimes as a ‘regular’ teacher, sometimes as an ‘advisory’ teacher and more recently as the ‘Blippit Man’.

blippitio manThe ‘Blippit Man’ tag does generate extra attention and effort from children no doubt at all so my reflections are mindful of how children respond to people they view as ‘experts’ from the ‘real’ world.

This bit of shine from an external expert isn’t sustainable and so it makes what teachers and children achieve together, day in day out, all the more remarkable.

The National Museum of Computing is an awe inspiring place for anyone with the slightest interest in technology and they’re pretty rammed with school visits and tours but if you’ve not been yet, do yourself a favour and go!

Blippit IO 2016 Blippit Blocks: Live & Free 5/1/16

Blippit Blocks has been added to Blippit IO.  It’ll be available for all schools to use from @5pm (GMT) 5/1/16

Blippit Blocks…
  • is a block-based visual programming tool for Key Stage 2-3 Computing.
  • promotes computational thinking opportunities
  • is great for developing debugging skills
  • is designed so that student/teacher project sharing, creation & playback are really simple & open
  • has accessibility built in with the option of a higher contrast/larger text Code Theme
  • has whole class big screen accessibility built in with the option of super-zoom
  • is touch-responsive so can be used in the browser on an iPad
  • has Python, not Javascript, under the hood when you want to see what the Blocks are really doing
  • sends it’s code seamlessly to Blippit IO’s PureCode Python tool for keen coders to develop further in text

Write and debug programs that accomplish specific goals, solve problems by decomposing them into smaller parts use sequence and repetition in programs.

Tap or click an image to magnify
Sharing

Teachers can share projects with students as a Blippit IO Template Project for debugging, extension and development.  We’ve also added a special button that appears in Blippit Blocks Projects so you can export your Blocks code into Blippit IO PureCode Python for more advanced text-based coding development, if needed, using the popular Python language.

Thanks to all our fabulous school users for your ongoing feedback, support and interest in Blippit IO – we really do appreciate it!