Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Learning to Code on Mobile Devices

This week as part of my Marlboro College "Creating with Code" course, we were asked to try some apps for kids.  I tried Scratch Jr and Lightbot Hour to get a feel for how these worked on my ipad.

Lightbot Hour was a series of ever more complicated puzzles that challenged me to think through the challenges using events, sequencing, and conditionals.  I liked it (although I confess, I didn't get up to the really challenging levels) because there it was a game with specific puzzles to figure out. I also liked it because is forced me to constantly stop, test, and make things work.  I was easily able to stop and figure out where I went wrong and to test and debug.  I don't play any computer games, but this approach was one I enjoyed. I think having an endgoal and iterative puzzles that built up one step at a time was what kept me so engaged.


I then moved on to Scratch Jr.  In this app, the user has the opportunity to really move through the design process.  I have experimented with Scratch which really helped me to know what to do. I imagine kids would be more intuitive with this than I was.  For me, having a Scratch curriculum available with activities to help kids who need a start would be important.  I have watched kids freeze when asked to come up with a creative story or design --I wish it weren't the case for sure-- so helping them have a place to start would be important.  

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