Do all toys need to be interactive?

Today, Lego has announced a big partnership with a Chinese company to try and increase its worldwide sales. They want to  create a safe online environment covering content, platforms, and experiences tailored for Chinese children.

“What we are looking for now … is just to find more creative ways… (of) reaching children, and creating bespoke content ….eg video games,” said the China Lego manager. The partnership includes developing a Lego video zone for children, as well as developing and operating Lego branded licensed games.

It also includes LEGO BOOST — a building and coding set that lets children turn their brick creations into moving objects — and will explore developing a joint social network for children in China.

So, here’s my question for you, because you are the stereotypical customer of Lego.

Is it not enough anymore for a company to sell a brilliant construction toy like Lego – do all toys need an online presence – videos, online games etc, in order to keep you interested? Is it necessary that they can programmed like our own robot?

Please discuss in the comments below.

Social Gaming – e-safety advice for parents and younger children

In school, we have been discussing the use of Social Gaming apps, such as Roblox and Musical.ly.

The Children’s Commissioner has produced a report about the impact of these apps on children. It’s called “Life in Likes”.

I wondered if you would have a think about what younger children and their parents or carers should know about these apps before using them. Some things to think about:

  • Is the content suitable for all ages – violence, behaviour etc? If not, can parents limit what you see within the app?
  • Who can contact children playing the game?
  • Who can see any content you create and is it “sensitive” eg videos, photos, personal information?
  • Is there an incentive to accept invites from people you don’t know? eg could you earn points or money from doing so?
  • Are there in-app purchases?
  • How do you sign up? Does your parent have any control over your account?
  • What data does the app collect about you & what can it do with this data? Can it sell it? Does it delete it when you leave? Who has access to it? Does it own your data, photos etc?
  • Do you play games that make you feel hyper-excited or might stop you from sleeping? Is this a site you should use before school or before bedtime?

Can you think of any other risks of using these sites?

Why would you recommend the apps to others:

  • Do you think it’s a safe space to explore/ make friends? Why?
  • What do you learn from using the site – is there anything educational?
  • Is it a really exciting place to be and why?

How would you improve the app?

Thanks for your help!

Smart Home Devices

(Happy New Year everybody! Please remember that there won’t be a Code Club this term, but if anyone is keen, I will keep updating the blog so we can still discuss stuff, do challenges etc!)

Remember that Jon brought his Google Home Mini in just before Christmas? Did anyone’s family get a similar Smart Home device for Christmas?

eg Google Home/ Mini, Amazon Alexa/ Echo?

(Photo from The Guardian Saturday 6 January 2017 Full article here)

If so, what’s the best thing you’ve found to use it for?
What do you have connected to it? Lights, music, central heating thermostat, kettle, oven?

I bought a Google Home Mini and I love asking it to remember things for me. “Hey, Google. Remember I put my passport in the kitchen drawer”. Then, “Hey, Google. Where’s my passport?”
If only I’d had it before I lost my favourite gloves…

I also bought one for my 93 year old friend who is blind and finds it difficult to walk. She loves it! It means she can ask it the time, the weather forecast, ask it to turn the radio on etc without looking for a clock, pressing buttons etc. What a lovely thing for a less-able person. Can you think of anything else she could use it for?

Fireflies! **new video at end of post**

This week in Code Club we will be making our Micro:bits into Fireflies and creating an amazing, clever light show!

Read this link carefully and play the game (hint- turn on the nudge button half way down the page). It would be great if you could all come to Code Club having learned how Fireflies synchronise their lights – and understand what “synchronise” means!

Here’s the Micro:bit project. Enjoy!

And, thanks to Tim, here’s our own version of Fireflies – you were so good at debugging (there’s a joke there somewhere but I meant it sincerely..!)

Also see the really interesting video that Alazoa found in her comment on this post. Can you work out how this happens?

Tim has found this interesting video explaining the metronomes etc – there may be a couple of words you don’t understand (eg “entropy”) but don’t worry about them, you’ll follow the rest of it! Definitely worth watching.

Homework – Using More Blocks in Scratch

Can you learn how to use the More Blocks function in Scratch?

Try to make a row of different coloured terraced houses in Scratch, your “perfect” code would include up to 4 Define/More Blocks. The result should look like this:
(Thank you to Rowan at London CLC for this idea)

Harder challenge – can you add windows/ doors to your houses? Can they be filled with colour? I am amazed at how we all used such different code! Can you check other people’s code to see how you could make yours more efficient?

Well done to Remy & Evan, here’s their project:

Here is Marce’s:

Here’s mine:

Here’s Julia’s:

Here’s Toby’s:

Here’s Katie’s:

Here’s George’s:

Here’s Daniels:

Your LGfL Doodles plus 2 extra challenges

  • Can anyone add some additional sprites which incorporate what LGfL actually does eg something to do with London, or Learning, or Computing?
  • Would anyone like to try to redesign the LGfL logo – try using a Paint program, or Assembly app on iPad? Try to make it more reflective of schools/ children/ learning/ London. What’s important in Logo design?

Here’s Evan’s!

And LGfL has just tweeted to their 2,901 followers about it:

Here’s Harriet’s:

And Alazoa & Lizzie’s:

Google’s Hour of Code Doodle

You can actually play a Lightbot type doodle on Google at the moment – just go to Google home page and press play on the picture  – it’s pretty cool and Tim says it gets tough quite quickly! Let me know how far you get?

PS Challenge your family – who can say Google Doodle quickly 5 times? I can’t say it once!