Why Code with Kids
Is it unfair of me to assume that coding is a language of power that my students need access to? If my students are going to be using apps, shouldn't they know how apps work? Shouldn't they be able to build an APP?
My first coding with kids experience was through the Technovation Challenge, a great program that connects young women in high school with women in technology from companies like LinkedIn and Google. This program used object based programming in MIT's APP Builder platform. Our teams went all the way through the process from design to protoype. In addition the team had to develop a business plan and a presentation pitch.
working with these high school students was great, but many were not ready to code.
When can we start coding with kids? Once I started working in a tablet-augmented environment, I had to find out what resources are available for coding on tablets. There are some great tools for teaching programming skills and thinking to kids as young as kindergarten. In my work I will ge getting these apps into the hands of kids and helping they think and work like a programmer
Where to Start
Learning to code on tabletsKodable by Surfscore ages 5 and up Just recently I got to meet Jon from Kodable, an app designed to teach coding fundamentals for kids 5 and older. When I was tlaking to Jon he really stressed that fact that Kodable was set up to allow students with low literacy skills to engage in programatic thinking
Daisy the Dinosaur grades 2-3 This is an amazing app that gets kids working with object-based programming. Daisy only moves on the x plane, so the coding is simplified, but all of the move, turn, and If -then switches behave just like they do in a more robust and complex programming environment.
Hopscotch ages 8 + This app gives students a complex coding environemnt that is still object-based. There are many sprites to choose from and students can also create text sprites. This opens the opprotunity for using this platform for presentations or learning reflections. If your students are almost ready for scratch, Hopscotch is a great app that lets them develop and practice skills on the iPad.