Here at Workbench, we’re committed to building the best tools for educators to discover, create, and share projects. As STEAM, coding, and robotics have become more popular in the classroom, we’ve heard the need to help educators effectively use and manage all the different gear that comes with that.
Workbench is a platform for teaching and learning with projects -- and now you can integrate coding right alongside any activity! Not only can you do drag-and-drop block-based programming with Google’s Blockly, but you can also use Blockly to control multiple devices simultaneously.
The Workbench Programming interface has a Blockly canvas where you can code something as simple as IF-THEN statements, a choose-your-own-adventure project, or as complex as controlling a Parrot drone with a Sphero robot!
Blockly is Google’s drag and drop language, which makes it easy to learn to program. We’ve customized it to fit the needs of Workbench and work with programming different devices.
We’ve worked closely with our amazing hardware partners such as Sphero, Parrot, SAM Labs, and MakeyMakey to integrate their Bluetooth-connected robots, drones, and blocks all within a single programming canvas. You can easily add one or more devices, and the custom blocks for those devices appear for you to use as you’re building the program.
The most unique aspect of the Workbench Programming canvas is that you can program multiple devices to interact or control one another. So, for example you can program two Spheros to interact, or use a SAM Labs Button and Buzzer to react or control a Parrot mini drone.
Content to Make Learning Authentic
While Workbench is the platform for delivering meaningful standards-aligned projects in an elegant user-friendly way, we’ve also developed some content to demonstrate how teaching STEM in a cross-curricular manner can provide meaningful engagement for all types of learners.
Coding with Stories
Our Computer Science Basics curriculum consists of three units that use different short stories to illustrate and teach coding concepts such as loops, variables, and lists. Check out the first unit based on “The Three Little Pigs,” which teaches the basics of coding using Sphero robots! Not only are these sequential projects cross curricular -- between STEM, coding and ELA -- but they are also standards-aligned, making it easy to accomplish all of your goals as an educator.
Learning in and out of the Classroom
Workbench projects are designed to make learning about technology easy and accessible for anyone. Projects can be used in the classroom as group instruction, or self-paced, but educators have also found it useful to use Workbench projects during professional development sessions to get familiar with the information themselves. Working through our programming lessons is a great way for everyone to get comfortable with block coding.
Workbench makes it easy to assign and track student progress, as well as sync to Google Classroom, Clever Roster and more. G Suite tools are integrated right into projects, giving you the continuity and consistency as you work with Sheets, Docs, Slides and more within your projects in Workbench.
Earn Your Gear
If you’re excited about the possibilities of STEM and want a way to get gear into your classroom, we’ve got a program you’re going to love! Between now and the end of August 2018, we’re running an Earn Your Gear Program where you can earn products by contributing your own classroom-tested, standards-aligned projects to the Workbench Platform. Learn how to participate here.