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3 Easy Coding Platforms for Kids

3 Easy Coding Platforms for Kids

Coding is all the rage right now, and rightfully so. Careers in computer science are one of the most sought after, highly paid career fields right now, but so few of our college graduates are qualified to fill these positions. Why? It’s just not something that has been included in our education…until now!

You don’t need to know how to code to teach coding

So you’ve decided you want to teach coding, now what? There are a million apps, robots, and books out there that claim to make coding “easy” for kids, but here’s 3 tried and true resources that have made coding both easy and fun in my classroom.

Code.org

I’m sure by now you’ve probably heard of Code.org. They have numerous celebrity spokespeople ranging from Mark Zuckerberg to President Obama and their coding curriculum is not only free, it’s amazing. You literally need zero coding experience to teach your students to code with this tool. By creating a class and selecting the age group of your students, Code.org will automatically choose the most appropriate lesson sequence for your students. All they need to do is sign in and go!

Go to Code.org

I know what you’re thinking. “What if my students are stuck on a puzzle and I have no idea how to help them?” Been there! Here’s what you do:

Step 1- Fake it till you make it. Ask your students guiding questions like “What have you already tried? What piece didn’t work that you could change?” And once they find their own mistake, just smile like you knew the answer the whole time!

Still stuck? Try Step 2- Use your student experts. There’s bound to be at least one student in your class who picks up coding quickly, so use that to your advantage. Students love being able to teach each other something new, and this is a great opportunity to foster some of those leadership skills.

STILL stuck? Log in as a teacher. There’s helpful hint videos you can share with your students AND a teacher mode for each puzzle that lets you see the solution. Just don’t tell them you peeked at the answer…


Swift Playgrounds

This one is iPad only, but it’s definitely worth looking into. Swift requires no prior coding experience and it grows with your students getting more challenging as they progress. Just like with Code.org, Swift also has a curriculum embedded in it so students will not only play with code, they will also learn the vocabulary and skills needed to be successful at it. Swift even includes coding for robotics like Parrot drones and Wonder Workshop’s Dash, so it really can be an all-in-one coding program for your classroom.

Go to Swift Playgrounds


Scratch Β 

Scratch is a FREE block-based coding platform developed by a team MIT and allows students to program games, animations, and digital stories. It uses a drag and drop format that looks very similar to Code.org and Swift playgrounds. which makes Scratch a great next step for your kiddos who have picked up coding concepts quickly. Scratch’s design is very user friendly and helps students actually SEE what their program looks like and how it works. However, Scratch allows you to build some really complex programs so it can also be used to transition students to other coding languages like Python and Java.

Go to Scratch

This amazing computer-based resource is perfect for upper elementary students and beyond. There’s no curriculum associated with it, so you’ll want your students to have the basics down before you let them loose, but the possibilities are really endless.

OR if you’re like me and you jump into things headfirst rather than planning out all your steps, use one of these awesome books to help guide you. Each one has several different Scratch projects inside, complete with step by step visual directions and enough background knowledge to help your students be successful.

 

 

 

 

 

{Click the images above to view each book on Amazon. A few of them are also available through Scholastic!}

 

Ready to give coding a try? Share your ideas and experiences in the comments below!

 

 

 


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