Home Teaching Coding KODABLE: Revolutionizing Coding & Empowering our Students’ Futures

KODABLE: Revolutionizing Coding & Empowering our Students’ Futures

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As a teacher who holds a degree in computer science, I am passionate about teaching kids coding. Exposing students to coding at a younger age isn’t just a good idea anymore, it’s a necessity. It isn’t that everyone has to be turned into a programmer. Coding isn’t just about preparing students for a career in computer science. Coding fine-tunes skills in problem-solving, logical thinking, communication, collaboration, and really teaches students to persevere.

Having students better understand technology as it is increasingly incorporated into their lives is so important. And creating more graduates with programming skills is a must in our society, as well. They are in progressively high demand, and that will only increase with the coming years. Programs such as Kodable help those of us in education, passionate about students, meet important needs for their future.

Kodable uses graphical objects to introduce students to coding. Students guide a “fuzz,” an in-game character which can be changed and customized with Java, using drag-and-drop action instruction buttons. Students learn to guide them through paths using turns and eventually conditional decision structures, loops and functions. It teaches important programming concepts but does it simply through enjoyable mazes, puzzles, games, and fuzz and maze building. The students even get exposure to Java in written form! The series increases in difficulty and requires deep-logic thinking to pass levels with three stars. The thought processes needed to code in order to solve problems really sets this app apart.

Loops and functions have been written by children in classes as low as Early Kindergarten in our school! Computational thinking practices, such as sequencing, conditional statements, loops, functions and even debugging skills, are being used daily in this app. Logic, problem-solving, critical thinking skills and more happen every day in our tech classes thanks to Kodable. And teaching students a concept such as a conditional “if-then statement” or loop goes far beyond a growth in coding knowledge. They are lessons in perseverance and determination which will benefit them in every school subject and in everyday life. And Kodable can even be used by non-readers! They may not even know how to read the word “algorithm” yet but they are learning to use them!

From our experience with Kodable, it’s easy to see how they have carefully considered the important idea of making sure it is encouraging and enjoyable to all genders, backgrounds, nationalities, and to everyone who should be exposed to coding — which is everyone! Building a fuzz with crowns, flowered headbands, sunglasses and more is appealing to girls. VERY appealing to girls. Yet, it has included accessories that boys love, too! It doesn’t go unrecognized that Kodable was sure to make coding inviting to the very important female population, which is in high demand in the coding world.

Fuzz characters can be changed to many different colors and textures, and can even portray moods, which is so good for students from an expressional level, as well. As is reinforced often with the Kodable company through many social media outlets and on its website, #KidsCanCode! And Kodable is one resource that can truly make this happen. It has never been more important to provide students, and especially girls and minorities, with exposure to coding.

The in-app educational resources included in Kodable’s school versio set this app completely apart from others. The learning guides help any teacher easily use this program as a teaching tool. You do not have to have a computer science degree to teach using Kodable. Teachers will actually learn and grow themselves from the concepts! Teachers can also control the levels which are assigned to students and watch their progress on excellent graphical charts. Students who are struggling or who need more time can be easily identified, but only by the teacher so there is no shame or discouragement for students themselves — only exciting new levels to reach and grow! We have the ability to empower our students for their future and the jobs they will need and want!

Kodable always seems to be one step ahead of the other coding apps, as is seen with the introduction of KODE in response to the need we have to get students to overcome the fear of transitioning from block-based coding to syntax-based coding. The new KODE (Kid-Optimized Development Environment) lets students use real JavaScript or Swift to write their own properties, functions and code. Kodable is also in the process of making it easier for our students to share their creations with others which, as an advocate of social media use in the classroom (#TeachNotBlock), we believe is nothing short of extraordinary and the next great step in keeping Kodable at the top of the game in what the students of our future need.

Every new feature that is introduced (which with Kodable happens often) reignites a fire inside of our students for coding, problem-solving and perseverance. The most recent addition of the Black Hole feature, which lets kids create an expanding black hole to swallow up monsters, has had our students going wild over coding in new ways.

William Butler Yeats is the author of one of my favorite quotes about education: “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” Kodable is a perfect demonstration of what is at the very heart of this quote. If we can teach children to fall in love with coding at a young age and not fear it, we will be helping to create tomorrow’s leaders in programming and computer science. Kodable is such a fun but completely outstanding and effective platform for teaching and learning. It really teaches students to think critically. Thank you, Kodable, for everything you do for our students, for us as teachers, for our entire school, and for the future of our young learners in this technology rich world.

 

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As a teacher passionate about teaching technology in the 1:1 environment at Norway Vulcan Area Schools, I strive to play a part in the revolution taking place in #EdTech, #coding and all things technology related. I am a huge advocate of #TeachNotBlock in schools and believe we should be promoting, using and teaching students to use social media correctly instead of blocking it. I teach Elementary Tech Ed, Advanced Placement Computer Science Principles, Digital Technologies for the 21st Century/DT-21, middle school technology, Personal Finance/Accounting and Multimedia courses as well as Tech Integration & Applications. Our school was just selected as a Kodable for Everyone award winner! I'm super excited to be a Code.org facilitator for AP CSP and most recently accepted into the facilitator program for Computer Science Discoveries as well. I've been honored to receive the Golden Apple Teacher of the Year & Teacher of Distinction Awards as well as state runner up for MACUL Outstanding Technology Using Educator, the Outstanding Person in Education & an NHS Teacher of the Year. I have been a blogger for the tech company Remind (https://www.remind.com/blog/cell-phones-in-the-classroom-improve-communication-and) and have been a featured educator at Naiku (http://www.naiku.net/blog/). I teach LTU graduate technology courses for educators. I am an NHS cheer coach and the yearbook advisor at NHS. I teach community tech ed. I enjoy water & snow skiing, mountain biking, backpacking, skating & have been skydiving! I enjoy watching sports, especially football & am a Green Bay Packers fan who was able to attend Super Bowl XLV! Connect with me! Facebook: Jacqueline LaBerge Leiker; Twitter: @TeachNotBlock

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