In today’s session we looked at coding in the KS2 classroom.
Firstly, we looked into purplemash.com which provided a range of coding resources that could be used in the classroom. Once logged in with a school/university login, you can explore many games within the ‘Tools’ section of the website that reinforce the learning of Computer Coding.
The first one we looked at was ‘2Go’. This is a very simple piece of software that only includes the actions for up, down, left and right. Although there is not much to learn from ‘2Go’ in terms of programming, one advantage is that it shows the path in which the ‘bee’ has taken.
The second tool we looked at was called ‘2Code’. This software provided tutorials to help develop the learning of computer coding. It also had a variety of games, such as, ‘Fun with Fish’ or ‘Snail Race’. In the game ‘Fun with Fish’, it gave you certain tasks to complete, all increasing in difficulty. This game was good fun and I found it very easy to use.
The last one we looked at was called ‘Logo’. I believe this was the most useful and informative out of the three apps. It is able to teach children to use commands by using spelling and maths. For example, they must spell ‘forward’ correctly and then decide ‘how many units’ they want the arrow to move by.
It draws on prior math knowledge, such as shape and geometry facts, including the understanding of angles. This was my favourite piece of software because I was able to experiment with different shapes and then I learnt how to use abbreviations in my commands which I also think would be very useful for children to learn.
The next thing we were shown on ‘Logo’ was how to create a procedure. A procedure is when you make something in order to use it again. For instance, creating the commands for a square then being able to use this as a short cut or a tool for creating different shapes, like ‘flowers’ (seen below).
Hour of Code
The next website we looked at was code.org/learn or ‘Hour of Code’. There is no teaching or tutorials involved but instead the learning is obtained through practice.
I had a go at the ‘Frozen’ inspired Hour of Code. I really enjoyed this software because I believe the children will be more engaged if they are learning with movie or game characters that they adore. (There was also a ‘Minecraft’ version which may interest some children too.)
There were 20 set challenges that the pupil must complete in order to receive a certificate. These challenges became increasingly difficult throughout the task.
I gained knowledge on the benefit of the ‘repeat’ block and how important it is to get the order of commands correct.
The software gave feedback after each challenge allowing the children to see where they went wrong and to receive information that may help them in the next challenge. As you can see (image above), the tasks became harder to complete and required concentration. I believe this level of knowledge needed would be more suited to a KS2 class rather than a KS1.
I really enjoyed this piece of software because it was easy to learn from it and I liked making my own ‘ice art’ with the ‘Frozen’ characters.
Useful app related to Computer Coding
I discovered an app called Kids’n’Code on the App Store on my iPad. I downloaded it because it looked fun and it was free. I liked the design and layout of the app but I found it hard to begin with because there was not much help with what I was meant to do.
I soon figured out how to work the app and I think it would be good to use an an extension task or maybe at ‘Golden Time’ in class to reinforce the learning of Computer Coding in the pupils. I especially liked the fact that it used the language of Coding such as ‘run’ and ‘program’.