Teacher Review For Toca Builders

Great introduction to the 'open builder' app world.

Donald P.
Classroom teacher
N.F. Woods Advanced Technology and Arts Center
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My Grades 9, 10, 11, 12
My Subjects Arts
EdTech Mentor
My Rating 4
Learning Scores
Engagement 5
Pedagogy 3
Support 4
My Students Liked It Yes
My Students Learned Yes
I Would Recommend It Yes
Setup Time Less than 5 minutes
Great for Creation
Further application
Small group
Student-driven work
Teacher-led lessons
Great with Advanced learners
Low literacy
Special needs
How I Use It
Toca Boca Builders is the most used app of all the Toca apps when students are allowed 'free time'. I refer to it affectionately as 'baby mine craft' as it definitely has a 'Mine Craft lite' feel. In fact my students that truly loved Toca builders, I then moved on to Mine Craft. Toca Builders allows students to create and build with blocks, changing the colors, adding and taking away at will with the use of different characters. It has the feel of playing with Lego's in a virtual world. I have given students directives of what to build (Egyptian pyramids, log cabins, etc) and works well as an extension to social studies lessons as students can take pictures of their creations to then use within other apps or applications. Students however, prefer to be just let loose, much like a child with a big box of blocks.
My Take
Toca Boca Builders is the favorite of the Toca apps both of my students and myself. It reminds me of my bucket of blocks that I had as a kid. No matter what fancy flashy toy I received, I always went back to my blocks. Why? Because they encouraged me to use my imagination to build things to play with. Toca Builders works the same way but in a virtual world. While there are limitations to how big things can be built and that everything has to be built in a gridded pattern (again think Legos), students quickly adapt to these limitations. As with most of the Toca apps, ELL and special needs students fit this app perfectly as it encourages experimentation and 'trial and error' without requiring any reading. Mistakes are easily undone and the learning curve might seem steep to us as adults, but to your students, they pick up the layout and tools almost intuitively.