May 2012, The first Block Magic prototype is ready for testing
The first prototype of the Magic Blocks has been finalized during May 2012 and all partners have received a suitcase ready for testing. With this, Block Magic consortium is ready to start the first evaluation phase.
The Block Magic teaching kit consists of a set of magic blocks and a magic wand. In a typical scenario, the class is divided into groups and provided with a suitcase of magic blocks and a magic wand. The teacher sets a task (e.g. order the magic blocks to tell a story, as suggested in the teachers’ manual) designed to develop a specific creative, logical, linguistic, or strategic skill. Then, the children work alone or together to solve the task using the magic wand to touch the blocks they select. A computer will be giving feedback on every action (i.e. each time a block is touched with the magic wand / glove). When children touch a block, or a sequence of blocks with a wand, Block Magic generates feedback (e.g. by talking) that changes from one activity to the next or at different stages in the same activity. This feature makes the system an endless source of surprise and curiosity.
Block Magic combines low cost RFID technology, “scripts” for learning activities, and a software engine controlling block behavior. After extensive testing of different RFID reders, the Tertium BlueBerry HF was selected for the first prototype for its power and functionality. For the final kit a better ergonomic shape will be produced based on the feedback from the first testing phase.
If you are a teacher, interested in participating in Block Magic evaluations and testing, please contact us.
Several video tutorials are being made and will be available on youtube, so stay tuned!