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In SparkFun’s Department of Education, we’re constantly looking for ways to make electronics more accessible to a younger audience. In our ideal world, electronics would be part of the normal K-12 curriculum. We’ve organized dozens of classes that teach kids (and adults) how to use microcontrollers and other electronics in fun, creative ways. From conductive playdough or paper circuits to game and tool based materials. Many of the coolest activities integrate a bit of programming in addition to our favorite hardware. That said, we’re always on the lookout for tools that make programming more accessible to beginners.
Last Spring, we introduced you to Minibloq, a graphical programming environment for Arduino - we’ve since been using it to introduce the SparkFun Inventor’s Kit to even younger audiences. We’ve also been watching Modkit, another great tool that makes programming electronics much more approachable. Our friends at Modkit are currently running a Kickstarter campaign to launch the latest version of their graphical programming environment called Modkit Micro.
Besides the fact that Modkit Micro adds support for a number of SparkFun boards, we’re very excited because Modkit Micro will finally be publicly available this July! That's pretty sweet for teachers who want to start teaching robotics at the elementary level. Because the web version of Modkit Micro will be free to all, it's a nice option for educators and schools with a limited budget. We've had a chance to try out Modkit Micro and it looks very promising. We especially like the cross block to text feature. We’ll continue to experiment with Modkit Micro and Minibloq and plan to feature both in more teaching material - so stay tuned.
SparkFun will also be selling the desktop version of Modkit Micro, which will help support Modkit’s ongoing development. For those who just can’t wait or who want to support this important work, head on over to their Kickstarter page and sign up for early access.
We'll have the most recent versions of both drag and drop programming environments at AVC for programming some of our new MiniBots. So stop by to see how SparkFun and many others intend to teach physical computing to the younger generation!