posted by: Cindy Omlin
| October 24, 2014, 09:51 PM
As we progress into the 21st century, it’s becoming clear that learning how to program is no longer an option for our students. For many teachers who never learned these cutting edge skills in school themselves, knowing how to help their students tackle these concepts may seem to be a daunting task. Fortunately, the world is filled with resources for beginning programmers and the teachers who are helping them. We’ve included our five favorite below:
Tynker – In our opinion, if you want to get your elementary age kids started on programming, Tynker is perfect. Tynker introduces all the basic elements of coding, statements, variables, Booleans, and loops through visual puzzle pieces. Students just drag and drop the puzzle piece that corresponds with the command that they want into place, and a program begins to form. Tynker also comes with a comprehensive and self-explanatory curriculum that lets teachers who may not be familiar with coding learn alongside their students. Unfortunately, getting full access to Tynker requires schools to purchase a plan either for a single classroom or an entire district.
- Scratch – Scratch is the next best thing to Tynker and unlike Tynker, it’s free. Like Tynker, Scratch allows students to learn coding through the use of drag and drop puzzle pieces. While Scratch does not have the lesson plans or curricular support that Tynker does, it does have an online community where teachers can share lessons and resources. It also promotes the sharing of projects and code on their website, which means that students can look at similar projects if they get stuck, get feedback, and take pride in publishing their work.
- Code.org – This website starts students with an introductory lesson called an “Hour of Code,” and then features a full-fledged programming curriculum with lessons for students between age six and high school. They also offer professional development workshops to help teachers integrate coding into their classroom.
- CodeHS – This resource is designed for older students. Instead of relying on visual puzzle pieces to teach programming, CodeHS moves students beyond the basics and has them learn programming languages such as Java. Currently, their course offerings are a bit slim, but they are actively working on creating new courses.
- Hakitzu Elite, Robot Hakers – This game from Kuato studios is perfect for students who already understand some basic programming concepts and are ready to tackle learning a programming language. In this game, the player uses Java to program their own robot. It’s available on both iOS and Android.
Originally posted by Melissa at AAE .