Common Sense Review
Updated May 2016


Robots, Arduinos, and drones -- the block coding app to rule them all
Common Sense Rating 3
  • The guided tutorial demonstrates key features.
  • To view tutorials or share programs, students should have adult assistance.
  • Tickle works with dozens of devices or can be used without a device at all.
  • Drag and drop blocks of code into place to control robots.
  • Customize simple commands from the options.
Provides hands-on programming experience controlling robotics and drones.
Teachers will need to allow time for recharging and reconnecting devices.
Bottom Line
Impressive tool for introducing block coding and robotics on a ton of devices.
Amanda Bindel
Common Sense Reviewer
Classroom teacher
Common Sense Rating 3
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 4

The format is similar to other programming apps that use code blocks, but the range of devices that students can control with Tickle sets it apart.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 3

Students can change preloaded programs to scaffold their learning experience or start from scratch once they know what they're doing.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 3

The in-app guide shows how to use features, and help is available while programming. The Tickle website includes links to lesson plans and other ideas for classroom use.

About our ratings and privacy evaluation.
How Can Teachers Use It?

Tickle's website and social media platform highlight ways teachers have used Tickle in their classes, from solving equations using number lines to geometry lessons. Classes will be limited to the connectable devices available to them, but teachers can have students work in groups, perhaps on different devices if possible. Other groups can create programs to run on the tablet itself.

Read More Read Less
What's It Like?

Rather than controlling only one robot or device, Tickle lets students control a variety of robots, drones, Arduino, and other smart devices. Navigation includes Projects, where students can see demo programs, alter them, or create new ones; Courses, which takes students out of the app and online to view even more demos and lessons; and Devices, which highlights the Star Wars BB-8 robot, several droids, Arduino Bean, Dash & Dot robots, Sphero, and more.

To create the programs, students drag visual blocks of code into place, linking them to create the program. If they don't have a device, they can still program simple in-app games. Teachers should know that students are instructed to tap and hold a confirmation message saying they have adult help if they're under 13.

Read More Read Less
Is It Good For Learning?

Dragging blocks of code into place and customizing bit and pieces -- such as colors, directionality, and sounds -- is the standard for teaching basic coding, and that's just the way Tickle does it. The interface isn't all that unique, but the implementation sets it apart, allowing students to see that code runs all kinds of devices and tools.

The process is scaffolded so that every student can be successful. A program is already loaded when students open the app, and a hand guides them through the features. They're then left with the program in place to play around and make any changes. Once they're ready for more of a challenge, students can start their own programs from scratch. Self-assessment is built in as the programs run: Students will inevitably hit a snag where the program stops or doesn't perform as expected, and then they'll have to reevaluate, redo, and try again.

Read More Read Less

See how teachers are using Tickle