Puzzlet - Training Portal
Teacher Training Portal
At Digital Dream Labs, we strongly believe it is important to not only support your technology needs but also to know that our educators are our best resource when it comes to classroom implementation. Our teacher portal services serves to support your classroom needs. It is curated in full collaboration with current classroom teachers. If there is anything you’d like more information on or would like to add to this page, we’d love to connect!
This section outlines all steps for working in the classroom with our Puzzlets and playtrays. For information on digital versions of our games, try here.
The following checklist has been gathered from experienced educators using Puzzlets in their classrooms.
Find a way to organize your tiles. We've heard from educators who do everything from:
- Writing a number on the back with a sharpie
- Storing them in organizational bins or ziplock bags
- Lay your Play trays out with a device and connect.
- Sort the tiles back to their designated containers, since tiles will work with all trays you may have some students that trade and share with their neighbors.
- Close out the app on your device, this will keep your Playtray from continuing to try and connect while you are not using it.
- Plug your Playtray into charge over night, this isn’t necessary everyday but is good practice.
- Wipe down Play Trays with baby wipes in order to prevent any diseases from spreading among the students
1. What devices are Puzzlets Compatible with?
Puzzlets is compatible with numerous devices, wirelessly through Bluetooth 4.0 LE and also wired through USB 2.0.
- iPad 3, iPad 4, iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPad Mini, iPad Mini Retina, iPad Pro (wirelessly via Bluetooth 4.0 LE)
- iPhone 4S, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus (wireless via Bluetooth 4.0 LE)
- iMac, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro (USB 2.0 only, even if your Mac supports Bluetooth)
- Android tablets (wireless Bluetooth 4.0 LE, Android 4.3+)
- Android phones (wireless Bluetooth 4.0 LE, Android 4.3+)
2. How should I manage multiple sets of Puzzlets in my class?
When implementing new tools into a classroom, it is always very helpful to have organizational strategies to keep everything running smoothly. In my room, I use anywhere from 8-14 play trays at a time. To keep things organized I simply write on the back of a tile with a sharpie (1-14) for each set of tiles and keep them in the plastic bins that you can pick up at a dollar store. Keeping them in bins that are large enough to move tiles around and so your students can view what is available to use helps to keep them from falling off of students desks and all of the floor.
To start working with Puzzlets, I lay the Play Trays out on student desks with an accompanying tablet. I open up the app and as soon as I see the blue light blink, I know my tray is connected and ready for student use. At the end of the day, I just stack my bins up in a corner and charge the trays from a USB port of the desktop computers in the back of my room over night.
3. How can I best introduce my class to programming with Puzzlets?
- Download the Curriculum guide! Here you will find tips, tricks and implementation tools.
- Everything from paper cutouts to familiarize students with sequencing commands to assessments for students as they make their way through all the puzzling levels.
- We recommend starting out with Puzzlets as a full class activity, use the paper cuts outs, maybe act like a robot and get your students to program YOU to walk to the door, then program each other to do a task. These active, engaging opportunities will help students connect their ability to give direction to computational thinking skills that will help them advance through the levels of Cork the Volcano.
- Now it’s time to play! Let your students engage with Puzzlets in pairs, or 1-1 and support their energy and excitement when learning to code! Walk the room, ask questions and support their learning.
4. How can I filter Cork the Volcano into my classroom?
- No matter the subject area you teach, there’s a place for computer science in your curriculum. Cork The Volcano was built around the 4 Cs of 21st century learning: Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking and Creativity. These skills will help students develop success in all subject matter. You can use it to support Habits of Mind, sequencing events in reading and writing and computational thought, patterns in math. It truly is a cross curricular learning tool.
5. What are the Physical Aspects of the Puzzlets PlayTray?
- Playtray - This device will wirelessly connect with your tablet via bluetooth. It serves as a translator between the physical and digital world.
- Puzzlet pieces - these pieces act like puzzle pieces and are what your students will place on the Playtray in a sequence and use to “program” the characters in the game to advance through levels on the screen.
- Charging Cord - This is a traditional usb lightning charging cord. You can plug it into a usb port on a computer to charge the Playtray or plug it into a compatible wall outlet mount.
So now that you have your Playtray, Puzzlet tiles and a connectable device you are ready to go! This interaction between the playtray and ipad will lead to engaging 50/50 gameplay where students are enjoying working with technology with the added benefit of tactile, hands on learning.
6. How do I connect my Play Tray won’t connect?
This may happen for a number of reasons. First think about your connection. Is the ipad too close to another play tray? Maybe a student excitedly ran up to you to show of their code but because they walked away from their desk now the tray is disconnected. Things like this happen, but not to worry. There’s a few simple steps you can take to make this happen less often and what to do when it does.
- Close completely out of the App --- so on an ipad you would double click and swipe up.
- Bring the tablet back to the playtray, play it on top and open the app back up it should reconnect to the device closest and you should be set!
- If for some reason that doesn’t work…turn the tablet off and turn bluetooth off/ back on again.
- If that still doesn’t work, try clicking on the reset button in the upper-left corner of the playtray.
- If issues continue, please contact us our support staff so we can figure out how we can help:
 What is Bluetooth? Can even teach students!
Simply put, bluetooth is a wireless connection device. So it enables devices to communicate with other devices within range of it. As a teacher all you need to do is make sure your bluetooth is turned on on your tablet and when you open the app it will try to connect. Spend a few minutes to go over bluetooth with your students, explain that the playtray will connect to whatever device is closest to it. Bluetooth doesn’t travel through water. What in the classroom is made up of mostly water? A fish tank, maybe… but humans too! So make sure when you are playing with puzzlets if you are working with a partner you are sitting side by side. If you turn your back to your partner the play tray may not be able to connect to the tablet! Also, bluetooth connects to what is closest to it…. So if you carry your ipad across the room, what do you think is going to happen? Once they hear about this they are much better at being observant about what's going on and you will hear a lot less “it’s not working.”
 How do I correct issues with USB connection?
Contact our support team about this issue, we will work with you to find out the exact issue and send out a new cord if needed!
 How can I best introduce my teachers to Cork the Volcano?
- For teachers that are averse to using technology in their classroom Puzzlets is a great tool to try out! Thanks to the manipulative tools, our play tray and tiles, keeps students engaged and collaborating with each other connected to the real world, while also working with technology. We realize how important it is to not only support our early adopters but to also provide tools and resources for our hesitant teachers. We recommend engaging your teachers in a Play and Learn session where they have the opportunity to experience the game play in action, this will help them better see the vocabulary and discussions that will develop from paired game play. From there offer them the resources covered in Video 3 and provide them a link to our support videos/page where we can work to continue to build up and provide the support every teacher may need!
 How do I update my Play Tray’s firmware?
Try our debugging page.
 How do I get started playing?
When you click play the first screen that will appear is where your user will select their file, Once selected you will go into the last level played. To go back and navigate around the worlds click on the compass in the top left corner. Now you will be on our world screen, here, as the user passes through worlds new worlds will appear around their island. To navigate back to other users from here click on the button in the top right corner. To go to a world, click on the world. To go back where you came from, click back.