Stic-Stac Code Blocks is a concept for a creative coding kit which exposes children to the basics of coding while they are indulged in immersive augmented reality based 3D content creation. A child could create a personal story simulation, compose happy musical tunes, draw her favourite superhero in pixel art and experience educational content and story puzzles in their physical surroundings.
The idea of Stic Stac Code blocks was born when I realised that most of the augmented reality (AR) based mobile applications let children only consume digital virtual content. Apps like AR Toto impress you with polished 3D models, textures and animations, but they lack in cultivating creativity amongst its users. Creativity lies in the power of making and tinkering and I believe a better part of technology should be designed to foster learning. Thus the question was – How might we design a creative tool that let children manipulate, create and express their ideas?
Stic Stac Code Blocks is designed for children in the age group of 9-14 years and cover several interesting design considerations like – It lets children create unique content like Stories, Music, Pixel art, Games etc. in a more immersive augmented environment. – Instead of touchscreen-based interactions, children’s physical interaction with wooden blocks and Controller provide more natural haptic feedback. – One of the most challenging aspects of designing this kit was how to animate digital content. Inspired by LOGO programming language (1969) and Scratch (2003), the child creates a precise set of instructions( in other words she codes) to animate characters or objects. All this is based on the Principles of Computational thinking (Programming or Coding) i.e Sequencing, Repetitions, Events, Conditions and Parallelism which is the very foundation to any programming language. Thus irrespective of what career path a child takes, research has shown that nurturing computational thinking develops life-long skills like logical Thinking, problem solving, creativity and collaboration. – Finally, all the creations could be shared digitally or in the form of printed AR markers.
The project has evolved into mobile based application at sticstac.com