10 Great Resources for Teaching Programming and Coding to Primary School Students.

June 28, 2016
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Teaching more students how to code provides the solution to the growing technology skills gap in the UK. As a result, more resources for teaching programming and coding are becoming available in an effort to solve the ratio problem of technology jobs to skilled workers.

The UK computing curriculum has undergone significant changes that have replaced the ICT-Information and Communications Technology national curriculum.  The new curriculum requires teachers to provide lessons in programming and coding to students as young as pre-K.

If you are a UK educator that has been assigned to teaching students programming and coding basics, the good news is there are many helpful resources that will help you in the classroom.  Regardless of whether you have experience with coding or not, here are ten of the best resources that will help you become successful teaching students coding fundamentals

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Codeclub websiteCode Club.

Code Club provides you and your students with the opportunity to network with thousands of other students ranging in ages nine to eleven.  Code Club also integrates with CoderDojo that allows you to run a local club at your school that involves parents, students, and developers united together for the purpose of learning coding.

The projects created with Code Club teach primary students how to create animations, websites, games, and more using basic coding skills.  Each project is creative and allows students to use their imagination while learning coding terms such as Scratch, CSS, HTML, Python, etc. Additionally, there is plethora of online resources for teachers and support staff.

Click here to visit the Code Club website.

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coderdojo websiteCoderDojo Sushi.

CoderDojo Sushi teaches primary school students coding fundamentals using flash cards.  Each laminated card is called a Sushi Card and delivers programming and coding concepts using a method that is easy to understand.  The name “Sushi Card” comes from the coding concepts that are delivered in bite-sized pieces like a sushi meal.

Similar to Code Club, CoderDojo is a programming community created by educators and volunteers for the purpose of teaching students from ages seven to 17 how to develop games, apps, websites, and other programs.  The community provides a comfortable environment with like-minded coders to explore the many technology opportunities that can be created with basic coding knowledge.

Click here to visit the CoderDojo Sushi website.  

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Hopscotch app Hopscotch.

Hopscotch is an app for the iPad and iPhone that provides an easy way to teach primary school students programming and coding. The app is ready to go after you download it and does not require any setup.

Students learn how to create games, Minecraft re-creations, interactive drawings and patterns, emojis, space adventures, Rube Goldberg inventions, pixel art, and other programs simply by dragging and dropping the blocks with instant playback on the iPad or iPhone.

Hopscotch teaches primary school students CS basics such as loops, variables, and conditionals with free videos that are easy to follow and understand.  The app also encourages students to develop their skills with more than forty different challenge exercises.  As a teacher, you also have access to the Hopscotch community in the event you need fresh ideas, help with coding bug issues, or you have specific questions about a lesson.

Click here to download the Hopscotch app from iTunes.

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scratchjr websiteScratchJr

ScratchJr is a free app for the iPad and Android tablet devices. ScratchJr is a primary school level programming language that teaches students ranging in ages from five to seven how to program games and other interactive applications.  While the students are learning how to code they also can use their creative side to design different projects and find solutions to problems.

Learning programming and coding is simplified by connecting graphical programming blocks together to create animations and characters that perform a variety of different moves. Students can also further develop the characters by importing them into the paint editor to change colors, add audio and voices, or even place an image of themselves into the character.  The programming blocks are used to bring the project to life.

The ScratchJr interface has been redesigned from the traditional Scratch program to make programming and coding easy to understand within a young age group.  The interface tools and features are designed to meet stages of development for primary school students of ages 5 to 7.

Click here to download the ScratchJr app from the website. 

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move the turtle appMove the Turtle.

Move the Turtle is an app for the iPad that teaches young students programming and coding fundamentals using an animated turtle.  Each tutorial is easy to digest and uses a bright interface to teach the fundamentals of programming.  The interface includes rewards for learning each new concept in different types of programming languages.

The interface is well thought out and user-friendly for primary school students and offers a variety of modes that include Projects, Compose, Play and more.  The Play mode is where the tutorials can be accessed with step-by-step easy to follow instructions. Compose mode is the area where students can create their own programs by putting together the coding they learned in the tutorials.  The programs can then be stored in Project mode along with other programs that come with the Move the Turtle app.

Students are rewarded for their progress in trophies, stars, and diamonds.  Each completed task is rated on one to three stars.  If the student succeeds in getting the turtle to connect with the blue diamond, this increases their score.  A trophy is then awarded when the student completes each level.

Click here to download Move the Turtle from iTunes. 

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DFE logoComputing at School.

CAS-Computing at School Working Group is a community of like-minded members working together to support the teaching of computer programming and coding. Teachers, volunteers, and other support staff can create a local CAS hub to provide computer science training for other teachers tasked with the responsibility of teaching programming and coding to primary school students.

CAS also provides a generous variety of online resources where teachers can go for additional advice and support.  The online resources include shared resources and ideas using community forums, online discussion groups, and a myriad of other online activities.  The membership is comprised of educators, universities, exam board members, professional organizations, parents, and others.  CAS also receives support from industry partners in addition to the BCS Academy of Computing.

Click here to visit the Computing at School website. 

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Kano is an all-in-one computer and coding kit that teaches young students how to create a computer.  It is similar to a Lego game that allows you to build your own technology using programming and coding.

Students can build a computer with user-friendly plug and play pieces.  The project guides students through coding basics using a storybook before they are introduced to an open source operating system such as Raspberry Pi that allows them to further develop the code.

The steps in the storybook are easy to follow and teach students how to program sounds, Minecraft objects, art, servers, games, radios, and more.  Kano also accommodates an optional high definition display that students can build on their own with the coding skills they learned.

There is also a Kano educator community where teachers can share inspirations and ideas with other educators. All of the Kano projects align with Common Core standards and are designed with specific learning objectives and outcomes in mind.

Click here to visit the official Kano website. 

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Kodable websiteKodable.

Kodable is a school subscription-based curriculum that teaches students coding basics and commands that help to solve specific problems using algorithms.  The curriculum is structured in a way that provides an easy understanding of how to translate symbols into code.

Using Kodable, students learn how to create “if, then” logic as well as solve problems by debugging written codes.  Young students can easily learn different functions using basic coding concepts such as loops, syntax identification, value assignments to variables, properties, classes, and more.  The curriculum also teaches JavaScript and how to create subclasses.

The creators of Kodable work with actual educators to ensure each lesson in the curriculum is appropriate for the real life classroom.  Many of the lesson plans are designed for teachers with no programming experience and easily integrate into the computer curriculum for 30 minutes each week.

The Kodable curriculum is segmented into instruction, practice activities, and independent practice levels.  Teachers also have access to assessment tools that are both quantitative and qualitative in addition to a host of valuable resources on the Kodable website. Kodable is available as a trial or a Kodable School subscription.

Click here to visit the official Kodable website. 

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Tynker websiteTynker.

Tynker is a computing platform that teaches young students how to develop programming and coding skills in addition to computational thinking. The platform is used across hundreds of countries because it makes learning coding fun and creative with lessons that begin as early as the first grade.  Students can learn how to create their own robots, program lighting systems, fly drones, modify Minecraft, and much more.

Recently Tynker partnered with Mattel to create fun and engaging lessons using Monster High and Hot Wheels toy brands.  The company also partnered with Parrot and Philips to provide interesting ways to teach students how to create robots that perform different tasks.

Tynker is used to introduce programming and coding to students of all levels.  Teachers have access to a variety of classroom ready lesson plans in addition to K-8 Common Core courses and accompanying STEM project templates.  The curriculum is progressive so students can begin with coding basics before transitioning into more advanced programming and coding concepts.

Many of the lessons include projects, easy to follow tutorials, and a variety of games. Teachers can also access tracking and assessment tools that help to unify classroom management.

Click here to visit the official Tynker website. 

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Lightbot is a coding and programming app for the iPhone and iPad, Android, Windows, Mac, and Kindle devices. The app is designed as a puzzle game that requires students to solve different game levels using programming logic.

The levels for gaming mechanics are solved using coding commands that direct the robot to light up different tiles.  Lightbot also provides fifty different levels of challenge with a star system that serves as rewards.  The app is very easy to follow and helps students to develop skills in conditionals, procedures, and loops.

Lightbot can be used for multiple players and features save areas for each player.  Each player is also allowed to progress at their own pace, saving each level in their own space as they go along.  Students develop coding skills by competing on the number of completed levels, number of commands used to advance to the next level, and number of stars earned.

Click here to visit the official Lightbot website. 

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Our ICT is an award winning  London-based technology company that specialises in providing ICT support and project management services to the UK Education sector.

Our website is packed full of information about our services, products, clients and our people. Take a look around the site to find out more about our award winning IT support services for schools.

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