No code, no problem: 7 Gen Blocks EDU

Creating opportunities through breaking down barriers in educational game development

We started 7 Generation Games because we believed kids deserved better. We built better learning games and got better results: better academic outcomes, better engagement and better representation (both games and classroom curriculum). Over time, our mission has stayed the same, but the way we’re approaching that has evolved, or – to use a gaming term – leveled up.

A selection of the games we’ve made.

As of this blog, we’ve made 34 games – with five more in the works – collaborating with more than two dozen partners (from tribal nations to nonprofits to publishers), creating games for students who too many other game companies fail to serve, from English-language learners to rural communities to Indigenous youth. By the end of the year, we expect that total number of games to be at or approaching 50. In doing so, we’ve served hundreds of thousands of kids.

That’s a lot of apps and a lot of kids. To put that in perspective, it’s the equivalent of developing two tablet screens’ worth of games and serving three to four NFL stadiums’ worth of kids.

In the process, we built our own educational game development platform to streamline production and keep down costs.

But even then, we knew that we alone could not create games reflective of every community. Being able to create more games is important because no single game can effectively address educational outcomes across diverse populations. As much as people want to claim that their learning app or tool or software is the magic solution to all struggles for all students in education, there is no universal fix.

Last fall, we rolled out a low-code version of that platform for organizations to try to make educational game development more accessible. We adapted our platform to enable publishers, non-profits, tribes to create educational games using blocks of code that could be edited and virtually snapped together, reducing obstacles to game development by making it possible for entry-level programmers to create quality games.

7 Gen Blocks Low-Code Platform

However, we realized that to truly be accessible we needed to take our work a step further. We needed to make it possible for anyone who wanted to create educational games regardless of programming ability to be able to do so.

7 Gen Blocks EDU is that tool.

It’s a no-code version of our 7 Gen Blocks platform that integrates the best practices we’ve learned (around gaming and digital instruction), enabling educational content to be turned into games, customizable to different cultures, languages and student realities, without needing to code.

7 Gen Blocks EDU No-Code Tool

By building an easy-to-use development platform that doesn’t require coding skills, we’re not simply creating games that reflect communities, we’re empowering communities to control their own narratives and create their own games. 

That representation and reflection matters. We at 7 Generation Games know it because we have lived it.

One of the things that I am most proud of when I look back at what we’ve built at 7 Generation Games is not the games we’ve created (although those are awesome), but the opportunities – and not just for the students who play them.

I look at the team we currently have. I think about the number of talented young professionals we’ve been able to help launch their careers as their first job or internship and proudly watch them go on to organizations from NASA’s JPL to Unity to LinkedIn. Throughout the course of our company history, our staff has always been overwhelming (70-80 percent) Black, Indigenous or Latino. More often than not, our team members have been first-generation college students and/or English-language learners. So when we talk about creating for historically marginalized communities, we’re not building for “those” communities, we are building for OUR communities.

Some of our amazing team, past and present

We are testaments to the transformative impact STEM education has had on our lives, and it shapes the work we do.

I believe it is our responsibility not merely to leave the ladder down for the next generation, but to build them stairs.

I’m under no illusions that 7 Gen Blocks EDU is that full staircase, but I do believe it’s another step in making that happen.

7 Gen Blocks EDU is currently in the MVP stage (that’s the technical terms for a functional, but not polished draft form). We expect to move it into beta this summer and hope to have public-facing version of the platform available by the end of this year. 

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