Presented by:

Akos Ledeczi

from Vanderbilt University

Ledeczi is a CS Professor at Vanderbilt University. He has been working on NetsBlox, an extension that adds distributed computing capabilities and online collaboration to the Snap! for many years. He is also known for his highly popular introductory programming MOOC on Coursera.

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In this lightning talk, we’ll show how three new blocks: call, send msg and when I receive msg open up students’ programs to the internet and enable a wide array of possibilities for engaging projects. NetsBlox, a Snap! extension, was designed to teach advanced concepts to novice programmers. Distributed programming, computer networking, cybersecurity, machine learning and the Internet of Things are all within grasp in students’ first programming class with NetsBlox. Example applications students can create are superimposing science data on an interactive Google Maps background, plotting up-to-date data related to climate change or the COVID-19 pandemic, distributed multi-player games, a shared whiteboard or a chatroom for the entire class. NetsBlox also supports Google Docs-like collaboration out of the box. However, in this talk, we’ll highlight the newest features of NetsBlox:

  1. Accessing your phone’s sensors from your project and placing interactive GUI elements on the screen. This enables applications like 1) an exercise tracker showing your route on a map and displaying the distance covered and your speed or 2) turning your phone into a remote sprite controller.
  2. A Virtual Reality environment where students get virtual robots that they can control with their NetsBlox programs. They can collaborate on tasks in this shared world or compete against each other.
  3. Create and deploy your own Alexa skill by writing it entirely in NetsBlox.
  4. Create a suite of auto-graded assignments within NetxBlox itself.
  5. Make your own data available to any other user of NetsBlox anywhere in the world instantly.

Throughout the conference, there will be workshops and talks covering these new features as well as other uses of NetsBlox. Then Sunday’s keynote will take a deeper dive into the plethora of novel domains and projects teachers and students can explore with NetsBlox.

5 min
Snap!Con 2021
Lightning Talk
Lightning Talks