No child left without coding skills

In this article, Andy Young writes:

Programming is the act of giving computers instructions to perform. This is true whether the output is your word processor, central heating or aircraft control system. If you can’t code, you are forced to rely on those that can to ensure that you can benefit from the greatest tool at your disposal.

I can’t agree more. Every kids should learn to code. Even if it’s just a little bit. Programming skills are empowering and they teach kids the importance of building models.

The easiest way to get started is to teach your students how to build a simple web  page using HTML. It’s not really programming but it will get kids thinking about code.

Learn HTML

 

To dive into programming, check out these tools to get kids started. My personal favorite is Scratch. It is free, easy to use, and designed so even  young kids can understand programming without actually having to write out complex code. Below is an overview.

Resembling Scratch, App Inventor is another easy to use programming tool for building apps on Android devices.

App Inventor

App Inventor was announced by Google but has recently been handed to MIT to manage. Watch for the “MIT App Inventor” this spring.

Finally, maybe for the more experience coders, give VPython a look. It allows students to create 3D interactive models. Compared to Scratch, it looks a little intimidating. However, there are many sample programs and tutorials available to help you get started.

2 thoughts on “No child left without coding skills

  1. I agree with you, and would really love to be able to teach my students coding. Especially VPython, since I’ve heard how perfect to go along with Modeling. But I’ve never learned it, and am intimidated myself. What can I do to get myself started? Personally I would prefer to take part in something organized, a workshop or mini-class of sorts. Have you heard of anything like this? Where do you suggest I start? I look forward to hearing any suggestions you have. Thanks.

  2. You know, I’m no expert with VPython. Most of the time I just tinker with someone else’s code. I haven’t heard of a course but these videos seem like a good start. http://www.youtube.com/user/VPythonVideos/videos?sort=p&view=u

    I’ve had students use existing programs like these:
    http://showmedo.com/videotutorials/series?name=pythonThompsonVPythonSeries

    The only student coding I’ve ever done was this:
    http://www.aasd.k12.wi.us/staff/baslerdale/vectors1.htm

    When your done it makes the Big Dipper. I made this lesson as an intro to vectors and Python but I never went any farther.

    Got the idea from:
    http://www.ncsu.edu/PER/Articles/BigDipperPaper.pdf

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