As the school I am currently working in a school that has a 1:1 program with IPads. I have been really interested in seeing what types of programming software is available for students to use on their devices. With the group of young students I want them to be able to use a variety of programming tools and evaluate them. They will develop a class criteria for the Apps they use along with a range of questions such as: Which App did you use? Why did you choose it? Does it do what you want? How easy is it to use? What prior knowledge do you need to have? How do you think the programming works? How is the file saved / shared? What else could you use the App for? How could you improve the App?
I will start by giving them a number of Apps they can choose from. Initially, they simply have to make an object move from one area on the screen to another area. They can then get the object to do more complex moves by giving more complex commands. The final object will be to make a simple game and share it with their classmates.
They then have to report back to the class using the set criteria. They can also explore additional Apps not on the list and report back to class with an evaluation of the App.
The applications they can choose from are:
Daisy the Dinosaur http://www.daisythedinosaur.com/
Move the Turtle – App Store
Kodable – App Store
As well as explicit teaching of the skills I believe it is important for students to explore and experiment with many different software programs and try to push the boundaries and limitations by being as creative as possible. As mentioned by Maria Klawe, an inventor and computer programmer "Coding is today's language of creativity. All our children deserve a chance to become creators instead of consumers of computer science."
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