Q2 2023 Updates: Robotics, Blocks, Student Progress, and More!

Illustrated graphic of our new robotics course offerings

The second quarter is always a whirlwind of end-of-school chaos and summertime fun. While we’ve enjoyed our summer, we’ve also been focused on getting ready for the 2023-2024 school year. 

With that, we’ve made some exciting new product features and updates aimed at improving our year-over-year rigor, lightening the lift for educators, and increasing engaging learning experiences for students in computer science. 

These updates include:

  1. A new Robotics platform for grades 1-9. 
  2. New activities for our K-5 students including Blocks and Block Pro. 
  3. A redesign of our student progress dashboards. 
  4. Interactive textbooks to engage students even more in their computer science classes. 

In this blog, we’re sharing more about each of these updates, including why we’ve decided to add them before the 2023-2024 school year. 

Say Hello to Skill Struck’s Robotics Platform

You heard us right. We’ve officially launched our very own Robotics platform. This platform can be used to introduce robotics to your grades 1-9 students. 

In Robotics, students use blocks or Python to interact with the micro:bit computer (however, the physical micro:bit is not required to engage with the platform). We built this platform to help align to more computer science standards, and to create more engaging curriculum for students. 

Some of the features of this platform include: 

  • A beginnings course, where students as young as first grade can begin to learn how to interact with the micro:bit. 
  • Block coding, where students can play with block code to see interactions displayed on the micro:bit. 
  • Robotics curriculum, where teachers can teach using pre-made standard-aligned curriculum. 
  • A built-in autograder, so students can receive immediate feedback on the work they’ve submitted. 

You can learn more about our Robotics platform here

Introducing Blocks, formerly known as Flight Training 

Blocks is the new name for the same interactive Flight Training platform intended for K-2 students using Launch Pad. On Blocks, students will learn block coding and familiarize themselves with computer science (CS) basics. 

Introducing Block Pro, Skill Struck’s Safe and Secure Scratch Integration

We are excited about this new integration! This update was inspired from feedback submitted by our partners. This integration will improve year-to-year progression for our continuous student users. 

Integrating Scratch onto our Launch Pad platform eliminates any Scratch privacy concerns. Blocks Pro will not include access to the Scratch chat or community and Skill Struck teachers will enjoy increased control using Blocks Pro. They’ll be able to easily track student progress and lock/unlock content while benefiting from the convenience of our built-in auto-grader. 

As with all of our platforms, student data will remain secure in our standalone database. Completed assignments can be added to the student’s Launch Pad portfolio. Limited Blocks Pro content will be available in August 2023, with full capability scheduled for the 2024-2025 school year.

A Deeper Dive into Student Progress

We’ve redesigned our Student Progress Dashboard! It now includes Robotics, is easier to use, and is faster at loading and syncing student information. The updated intuitive layout will help teachers access the information they need with fewer clicks to get them there. 

New Interactive Textbooks in the Built-In Curriculum 

Skill Struck’s textbook works well as a reference while completing a coding lesson, but Skill Struck’s new interactive experience for non-coding concepts will help maintain student engagement. 

We’ve updated our textbook to include Articulate presentations for non-coding lessons. These presentations encourage our student users to interact with the material through visuals, built-in flashcards, interactive images, and other clickable content. These presentations are available in both English and Spanish. 

When an Articulate presentation is in a lesson, it will be required to click through for lesson completion. This will encourage students to slow down, focus, and get a firmer grasp of the material. You’ll find the first of these Articulate lessons in our Computer Science Basics materials, and they’ll continually be added to our remaining non-coding concepts in the coming months.

Learn more about Skill Struck here.

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