My interviewee in this episode is Bernat Romagosa and we’re talking mainly about MicroBlocks, which can be used to program common educational boards such as the BBC micro:bit, Calliope Mini or the Adafruit Circuit Playground Express.
Bernat is a software engineer from Barcelona and he has supported a variety of educational projects in the past. For example, he has supported Beetle Blocks which uses visual coding to create 3d shapes and models for 3d printing or has contributed to Snap!, a visual programming language that we covered in another early episode of kidslab podcast – be sure to check the show notes for a link to that episode!
Images: (c) Bernat Romagosa – used with permission
Bernat was also part of the Edutec group at the Citilab, a makerspace in Barcelona, for 6 years, where he worked on developing an online programming school, a social knowledge management system, different educational applications, and a bunch of Snap! modifications.
Bernat just recently joined SAP and is now part of the Young Thinkers group, from where he still supports the beauty and joy of computing project and contributes to the Snap! programming language. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and a Master’s degree in Free Software.
At MicroBlocks, he codes parts of the Virtual Machine, the standalone IDE, and the Snap! port, and is also a member of the Project Leadership Committee.
So what is MicroBlocks all about? MicroBlocks is a new programming language inspired by Scratch, that runs right inside microcontroller boards such as the BBC micro:bit, the Calliope Mini or Adafruit’s Circuit Playground Express.
After installing the MicroBlocks editor and flashing the MicroBlocks firmware once, you can quickly upload new code or change existing programs – it’s just takes a second. Of course, the usual suspects for visual coding blocks are available, such as various logic blocks, loops, blocks for controlling the input and output of the micro:bit such as the input pins and LEDs or various math blocks.
When it comes to learning resources, the MicroBlocks team provides very cool, printable activity cards as well as guided activities which should come really handy in the classroom.