Cradle to Coder: It's a Kid Coder Week - Post one, Resource Round-up

Here in the US, all the kids are back in school, starting off the school year, fresh, excited and looking to learn. Okay, maybe that's a little overboard... but what is more fulfilling than growing kid's minds?

I came across three different kid to code posts and wanted to get them shared asap, to great those brains a' growing. Three posts, three C4F posts needed, one theme week! (Plus, it's not too early to start planning for the coming Winter break... Sure it's a few months away yet, but you've got to have something for them to do...)

Today's post is from Andee Marks and is a great round up of various kid coder resources...

Coding for Kids: Free platforms, tools, videos and games

Yesterday, I spent a couple of hours looking into what freebies the internets have for kids wanting to learn how to program.  Thankfully, there are options a-plenty for this sort of stuff, but it does take a little Googling to undercover them all, so let me save you the trouble.

There are quite a few broad categories of these tools: lets look at each in turn, roughly in order of age/experience appropriateness.  I’ll start with the tools best suited for the younger developers with little experience with coding and move up to the platforms that really require a solid programming background to appreciate.  The level of software-based hand holding will decrease through each of categories, as will the reliance on primary colour palettes and kid-friendly animal avatars.

Logo-rithms

Don’t tell them they’re coding

Since the dawn of the time, the programming language most closely associated with learning has been Logo.  Not surprisingly, there are a number of online tools that use variations of the Logo metaphor of controlling a moveable instrument (originally a turtle holding a pen, but now apparently any animal will suffice).

...

Guided Tutorials

We tell -> you type -> repeat

The options in this category are based around industry languages (e.g., Javascript, Ruby, etc) and feature embedded browser-based developer sandboxes where participants can have their code evaluated/executed in response to specific tasks.

...

Unguided Tutorials

Time to take off the training wheels

This category is for sites that provide a more unstructured development environment.  Whilst the environment has the ability to execute code within the browser, it will not provide the step-by-step instructions to help people incrementally build up their solutions.  Generally this category is for people with a better holistic knowledge of development and have more confidence in building larger solutions with little assistance

...

Jigsaw Languages

Visual Programming

Jigsaw Languages are so-named (by me) because they all use a similar visual programming metaphor that allows you to slot appropriate pieces of templated code snippets together in logical ways.  The respective shapes are a strong visual cue to the developer to what “piece” should fit here.  As usual, a picture tells a thousand words

...

Game/World Builders

The Sky is the limit

There’s some fine lines in this category as there are many game building platforms that wont really expose any of the technical specifics needed to help generate interest and understanding in coding.  I’ve tried to include some of the ones that do.

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Conclusion

If you’ve stumbled across this blog looking for something for yourself or your kids to use to get into coding, I hope I’ve left you with lots of links to click on as there are certainly lots of cool tools to consider.  I haven’t used many of these in earnest, so I’ve shied away from trying to compare one against the other.

And if there are notable choices, I’ve not included here, please let me know [here] and I’ll update this list.

[Make sure to click through for all the links and resources]



 

(Page Image Credit: Thibault J. - Christmas coder)

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