Fun programming logic for kids; great curriculum ideas for teachers
What's It Like?
Kodable introduces kids to the logic and concepts needed in computer programming. The back story, told through an intro video: The Fuzz family crash lands on planet Smeeborg and needs to explore the many mazes. To help them get through each maze and collect coins as they do, kids use programming logic to drag and drop commands to move their Fuzz through the maze. Kids start off with blueFuzz but can unlock others, which is part of the fun. Kids play through one level at a time, unlocking the next as they go. (Teachers with the Pro version can unlock manually.) The free version includes the first lesson, Smeeborg, which introduces kids to the step-by-step instructions involved in programming, if/then statements, and loops. It also includes a written lesson plan for those levels, instructions for an off-screen game to play with kids to introduce programming and logic, and (possibly best of all) instructions for enabling "guided access" on the iPad, which is a way to ensure kids stay focused on a single task rather than skipping from app to app -- and it can be used with any app! The other levels -- Function Junction, which introduces functions; Bugs Below, for debugging; and Fuzzy Fun, for non-programming-related play with colors and letters -- as well as the written curriculum for each, can be bought all together with the Pro version or individually as in-app purchases. Up to five different users can have accounts on one device.
Is It Good for Learning?
Content-wise, Kodable is similar to other introductory programming logic apps like Move the Turtle and My Robot Friend, teaching sequencing and concepts like conditional clauses and functions. The story is fun and the design is colorful and engaging. It's the included curriculum that makes Kodable stellar. Teachers often worry how they can teach a concept, like computer programming, that they may not fully understand themselves. The curriculum included makes that easy. You'll learn the lingo along with the kids, if you don't already know it. Remember, kids aren't learning to write code just yet. They are developing the logic and problem-solving skills necessary to succeed as programmers, skills that will serve them well everywhere.
How Can Teachers Use It?
Kodable is a great exercise for teaching kids to think logically and learn to sequence -- work through problems step by step. You can have up to five user accounts on one device. The lesson plans available in the Parent/Teacher Portal include activities that get kids moving while teaching the concepts. To teach sequencing, the lesson plan has kids "program" a partner to complete an obstacle course, writing out a step-by-step code for them to follow. Teachers can use the lesson plans to teach the concepts to kids and then give kids time to work independently in the app.