Hiya, Andrew! What do you do?
Hi! My name is Andrew Kauffman, and I'm an instructional coach at my local elementary school. I help plan project-based learning experiences and help teachers create instructional strategies to bring in their classroom. I try to do creative, different ways of showing student work, and that's part of the reason why I have Bloxels in my toolkit. Bloxels is a cool and interesting way for students to tell stories. When I saw it about 3 years ago, I think soon after the Kickstarter happened, and I wanted to have the kids experience learning and telling stories in different ways! Recently I just launched a space balloon that went about a hundred thousand feet! Gosh, I love my job.
Really cool! Sounds like you get to do a wide range of cool, out-of-the-box stuff! You mentioned you were following Bloxels since the Kickstarter. Been on your radar for a while! So from your perspective, what is different about Bloxels than other educational tech?
I really enjoy the physical aspect of building a game. Placing in the blocks on the board and having kids plan out their story and game is key. Building physically makes a huge difference when kids can cross a boundary of what they do in the real world and having it translate digitally, then understand why they did what they did through the planning process.
Another thing that I really like about Bloxels is the emphasis on "the plan". I’ve been teaching for 10 years, and what I’ve learned the most about making, creating, storytelling, and learning in general, is that you must have a plan. You need to think about what your next steps are and reflect on that, and Bloxels really helps students understand that. I love the fact that the kids can plan, create, play with their prototype, and then go back and make adjustments.
Having a plan is definitely a sure-fire way to success! Do you have any favorite moments or experiences you’ve had with Bloxels?
For the fifth grade, their project was to learn about weather and how it impacts our local area and all the different spheres around us. We have some students who are reserved and had a hard time expressing themselves. They are either too shy, children with autism, or learning English as a second language. But after we put this amazing tool in front of them, they just took off. The games and stories that they created are absolutely amazing, and they would not have been able to do this using paper and pencil or crayons, because there's a physical and technological limitation for them.
Another kid we have is hard of hearing and struggles with vocabulary, but he created this elaborate game with in-depth animations and art that was incredibly beautiful. He created a tree with animation blocks next to them that made it look like the wind was rustling Back and forth through the trees. The leaves were shaking and falling off the tree, it was just incredible.
My principal really saw a benefit from that, and the ball started rolling on how we could use it in more classrooms next year and having kids build a game that the grade under can then play and learn from. It's something that I'm working on over the summer to have ready for the next school year. And now with the new Bloxels Edu Hub coming out, the ability to build the stories in the classroom is even more powerful.
Bloxels can make it easier for those kids who have never had any experience with coding! There's just so many possibilities with Bloxels, it's pretty incredible. Taking the physical blocks and transforming them into elaborate games and stories that kids really get excited about is an experience you really can’t find anywhere else.
Thanks for chatting with us, Andrew! We can't wait to see all the cool stuff you bring with Bloxels. Interested in becoming a Bloxels Ambassador? You can apply on our website at edu.bloxelsbuild.com.