BeBlocky is Ethiopia’s first gamified educational app for programming that aims to instill within children the skills and abilities required to become a coder. The app uses graphical programming blocks and cutting-edge augmented reality software to ensure an interactive and entertaining learning experience that does not sacrifice substance for style.
BeBlocky was founded by Nathan Damtew, who is also the founder of Yenetta Code, a STEM education centre in Addis Ababa.
The app is modeled after the globally renowned Scratch Programming language. Instead of typing code, users are able to drag characters and ‘snap’ them together to help the main character of the game, ‘Blockys’, solve different puzzles that are tied to programming concepts.
Similar to any kind of game, or lesson, BeBlocky is set up in a way where children advance through levels. What makes the app unique, however, is that it adopts concepts from gaming, like virtual coins and reward points, and uses them to qualify students rather than using a grading system.
Nathan affirms that initiatives like his are necessary if Ethiopia is going to become a player in the economic landscape that is unfolding globally. He asserts that the country has a shortage of developers, whom he describes as “architects of the digital economy”.
According to Code.org 71 percent of all new STEM jobs globally are in computing, but in Africa, only 8 percent of graduates in STEM are in the Computer Sciences. Nathan says that the aim of BeBlocky is to contribute to raising that number and ensuring that Africans are not left behind in the digital age that is shaping up for the future.
BeBlocky is currently only available on Google Play Store.