Author Topic: Anyone seen/ interested in the Algobrix kickstarter?  (Read 694 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Anyone seen/ interested in the Algobrix kickstarter?
« on: September 08, 2017, 04:58:35 PM »
So this just popped up on my FB newsfeed:

I think it looks really cool, but expensive. Also I've never backed a kickstarter before but I imagine nothing is guaranteed i.e. you may not ever get the product if things don't go right for the company (although this looks very professional and like they have done a ton of work before starting their campaign).

Interested to see what Mustachians think. The price is pretty prohibitive if one was practicing true Mustachianism, but considering it is an educational toy to try to get young kids interested in coding and away from screens then maybe this would be a cool one off (and I am at this stage kind of just living mustache-lite). Like I don't spend a lot of money on kids toys at all and would never normally consider spending $350 (in Australia with currency conversion & shipping) on a toy/present...but for some reason I just thought this looked so cool and really want to get one!

Don't know if I need to just take a breath and calm down though and then I will realise that this is not necessary!

Thoughts? Thanks :)


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: Anyone seen/ interested in the Algobrix kickstarter?
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2017, 05:23:46 PM »
Background: Software Engineer of four years. Father of a seven year old. Two years of tutoring English to young children. A bunch of volunteer work with young children. Was a CS TA four times in university. Have assisted with Media Computing workshops on a number of occasions.

What I know about Algobrix: I watched the Kickstarter video. Skimmed over the page. (Edit: watches more videos to give a fuller answer.)

My Experience With Kickstarter: Funded two projects. Both games. One was completed. One is in development hell but has gotten picked up by the publisher Atlus. I've followed a few others (including a programming with blocks one in the past).

My Opinion: I wouldn't even look at it. This isn't even the first 'teach your kid to program with blocks" Kickstarter. I'd not recommend any of them. I'll just list one reason. Any reasonable programming exercise will easily exhaust any physical supply of Blocks. If a child doesn't like the Blocks, 1 block is too many. If they are fascinated with it, you'll need 100's of Blocks. There won't be a middle ground.

Comparing them to their alternative, free programming languages like Blockly or puzzle games with or without programming, I'd really wonder why one would even bother with the physical media.

Also, I am a believer that you can learn programming through other methods besides programming. There are other ways to stimulate these skills without spending hundreds of dollars upfront on something they may not like.

Other Recommendation: Blockly is nice. Strategy games, believe it or not, teach similar skills to programming (sequencing, conditional thinking, and abstraction). Puzzle games too. Processing is good for older children.

Heck, my daughter has even found ssh with two TTYs using write fascinating and through showing her that I was able to teach her a whole lot about my job.

Swift Playgrounds by Apple was highly promising. Some may like it and find it edifying. My daughter's experience and mine was pretty negative with it.

Critique: The six concepts one needs to grasp to be a good programmer are:

1) Assignment
2) Sequencing
3) Iteration & Branching
4) Abstraction
5) Recursive structures
6) Concurrency
7) Recognizing off-by-one errors (debugging)

Watching some of the other videos, Algo actually does cover at least six of these. If someone had a kit of these and their children liked them, I think it would be wonderful for them. I think that is actually a small set though. I don't believe a younger version of myself would have been drawn to this.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2017, 06:03:50 PM by kayvent »


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Anyone seen/ interested in the Algobrix kickstarter?
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2017, 07:00:48 PM »
Thank you so much for that detailed response kayvent!!

I didn't really consider that there wouldn't be enough bricks, I don't have a massive Lego supply so that would be an issue after making something basic. And then the cost would just blow out ridiculously.

I did see another coding block thing called cubit or something but that looked like something my son wouldn't be interested in as it's wooden blocks and he would think it's for babies.

It's also a good point that it doesn't need to be actual coding at this age, just things that will develop those skills as you have mentioned.

Thank you again, I have officially calmed down. :)

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