I will not spend long on the documentation provided, which is very well illustrated and fills (in 130 pages for example on the advanced set) its role as a guide for the use of the blocks. But it is not sufficient to illuminate the more abstract notions for a beginner. Other inputs will be needed. The teaching qualities of this set are in construction and experimentation with the blocks themselves.

Teaching...

Close up of the optocoupler.
One of the teaching qualities of the Brick‘R‘knowledgeis to combine the symbolic representation (schematic) of the component and its physical appearance: the schematic is the circuit, and conversely the circuit is the schematic.
And once you have a circuit that works, you only have to take a photo to remember it or post it to social media.
And the same to ask advice when it doesn’t work!

... but it’s not boring, and it’s easy to modify.


Since this system is designed to get beginners started, it could have had some useful teaching features added – for example to put the color rings on resistor blocks. But there’s nothing to stop us doing that ourselves with the blocks.
This is not only possible but encouraged by the designer, who pushes the completely open nature of his system. The shells of the blocks are easy to open and dismantle. One can start with the existing blocks, to modify them, add components, creating variants or adding new ones, for example potentiomenters of different values, buzzers of various types, etc. The parts are sold separately (photos here): various universal printed circuits for experimentation of different sizes, supports, shells…. everything is available and this is certainly one of the strong points of this system.

No hasty conclusions

The principle of the Brick‘R‘knowledge set is to teach, suitable for all ages: it’s not a toy, it’s easy to use, as long as you’re interested in the subject and make a bit of effort. I do wonder though how long even a committed novice on his own can stick at this, especially if he is not comfortable with documentation in a different language. But it seems to me that this tool is very well suited to learning guided by an experienced person. The possibility to create or modify modules is very encouraging, both for the learner and the teacher, and in this case, very achievable.
But that’s not all, the best is still to come…..
Next page 2/3
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