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Maker Faire Bay Area 2017: MakeCode with Microsoft on Circuit Playground Express #makerfaire @adafruit #circuitplayground

At the Microsoft booth in the main hall at Maker Faire this weekend you can get hands on with MakeCode, a new, open source, in-browser visual code block editor for Circuit Playground Express, micro:bit, and other 32-bit ARM-based boards. Kids (and adults) can engage in fun activities, including crafting a wand and visually programming the Circuit Playground Express for interactive motion-triggered lights and sounds.
I recently started working with MakeCode to re-create some of my past Circuit Playground projects that I had coded in the Arduino IDE, and I’m really impressed by this new system. It’s a lot of fun to build programs with blocks — the GUI is based upon Blockly, and reminiscent of Scratch, which will be a familiar environment for lots of kids.
MakeCode includes a very nice visual simulator of the Circuit Playground Express so you can iterate quickly on your program without needing to upload it to the physical board until you’re ready. Then, you simply drag the Universal Flashing Format (.uf2) file to the board which mounts like a USB drive, and it resets itself and begins running. It’s a very nice user experience, and I think it’ll be a welcome workflow for educators.
If you’re at Maker Faire, go check it out!

Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, or even use Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for MakeCode, CircuitPython, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

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