Learning to Code... Coding to Learn...
Using free coding tools to help children make thinking visible.
What is coding?
Coding is the act of writing simple instructions or commands in an organized way that tells a computer or device to do some specific task. Apps you use on your Smart Phone are examples of commercial software. Apps are actually very large, logical programs of code crafted in order to make your device do something useful, fun or productive.
Why should my child learn to code?
Coding can help your child to think and learn. It is a creative, challenging, and rewarding experience that happens at the pace of your child’s own thinking. It is “learning by doing” because your child can design, create, test and redesign her/his code (see chart below) so that an idea they have can become a real thing on a device and be shared with others.
Children can create games, animations, and stories. Or children can use code to solve problems and explore mathematical concepts. Coding and programming builds technological fluency because it allows students to not only interact with technology but also to create with it.
Free online tools, apps and applications
Governments, educators and businesses are well aware of the learning potential in learning to code, and coding to learn. As a result, there are a large number of excellent tools and resources for children to learn and play with code are freely available.
Online Tools (these run in a browser window on a computer):
- Scratch (7+) – http://scratch.mit.edu
- Code.org (7+) – http://code.org/learn
- SNAP (7+) - http://snap.berkeley.edu/run
- Codeacademy (13+) - http://www.codecademy.com/
- Appinventor (13+) - http://appinventor.mit.edu/
Apps (for mobile devices):
- ScratchJr – iOS (coming soon to Android)
- Tynker – iOS & Android
- CargoBot – iOS
- Hopscotch – iOS
- Daisy the Dinosaur – iOS
Applications (for desktops, notebooks, laptops):
- Scratch – Windows / Mac / Linux
- Alice – Windows / Mac / Linux
- Stencyl – Windows / Mac / Linux
- Kodu – Windows
Resources (read more about coding and programming):