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The best resources to get kids coding

Education

The best resources to get kids coding

Many schools are getting to grips with teaching coding, but the resources available, while numerous, can be difficult for any teacher to get their head around. There’s different approaches and different languages to learn, and it can be hard to work out what is most suitable.

The tendency is to think ‘what do kids like?’ and then attach the coding skills to that. Hence the newly announced partnership to help pupils learn to code with Minecraft. Using a system called Blockly, rather than text instructions, pupils can use the game mechanics to build up their understanding of coding. Alternatively, you can learn to code with Star Wars, or with the Raspberry Pi.

Such things can take you so far, and with certain groups – to fully emerse yourself in any language, you need to offer a variety of challenges that will engage everyone in the classroom.

And these are not bad places to start – some are just starting points, while some are simply guides to further resources. None will make you, or your students, coding geniuses, but they will help give some structure to your learning.

Code.org Expertise

Code.org was launched a couple of years ago to push for wider access to computer science learning in schools, but is relevant here not for its campaigning but for its resources, from lessons like the K-8 Introduction to Computer Science, to the collection of tutorials from a range of sources.

 EdSurge Guide To Teaching Kids To Code

The EdSurge Guide to Teaching Kids to Code is a pretty all-encompassing guide to coding resources, largely from the point of view of parents. The best place to begin is, unsurprisingly,”Teaching Coding: Where Do You Start?” but there’s around 50 very decent resources to use.

 Awesome Coding Resources From Google

Made With Code by Google: Google have a mission encourage girls into the computer sciences. And they’ve made it a great place to start, for brand new and intermediate coders. It has projects which are easy to follow, with a very decent Resources section, which is updated regularly.

 MIT Media Lab

MIT Media Lab’s Scratch Team offers up support for Scratch, one of the most popular coding tools for youngsters, and built to help those with little or no experience of coding, but who want to jump right in. It lets students create animations and stories with building blocks that mimic the structure of computer code. It’s pretty simple for beginners, but there’s a  guide to help everyone get started.

 Hour of Code

Tynker’s Hour of Code Free Activities is a set of games for pupils to pick up basic ‘computational thinking and programming skills’, centred around the Hour of Code offering. A good section for parents section too.

 Common Sense Media Tools

The excellent Common Sense Media group have a typically sensible and moderated selection of Apps and Websites for Learning Programming and Coding with reviews and insights from teachers which will act as a pleasingly strict guide.

Be A Code Avenger!

CodeAvengers is an online platform will enthuse those hard-to-reach kids who want, most of all, to learn to code games, apps, and websites. There is over 100 hours of lessons on how to code.

 Check out W3Schools

W3Schools  is a series of free online tutorials to help older kids (and adults) learn individual coding skills. You can pick and choose what you want to learn, rather than going through a series of specific courses (as is often the case) –  especially useful if you already have some skills but want to fill in the gaps.

 Visual Programming

Kodable is designed for those aged 5. It’s a visual programming curriculum that makes it easy for kids to learn to code even if they can’t yet read. The app is free, but has the, dreaded, in-app purchases, done via a school or class licence.

Do you know any better? Add your favourites to the comments below and we’ll add the best to the page.

 

Photo: Unsplash

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Jimmy Leach is a digital consultant, working with governments, organisations and people. He tweets at @JimmyTLeach

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