As we all know, computer literacy is much more than learning to use Facebook and Youtube. For any of you who would like to incorporate computer skills into your ADST program, here are some websites and apps to help your children build technical skills on the computer:
typing.com offers a free program for learning to type, with a simple interface that focuses on building skills. Highly recommended.
Nitrotype is also a free typing program, set in a game format wherein players ‘race’ against other players online.
Blockly––a free app and website where students use visual icons to move characters around the screen. A simple, easy introduction to coding.
www.code.org––a great free resource to teach students in phases how to code. Students can advance at their own pace. There is a teacher training section of the program as well to give teachers a sense of the program. The student program consists of 20 coding lessons for early readers, another set for beginner readers, and more advanced lessons for those who complete the first two levels. There is also a teacher dashboard where teachers can see student progress. *This is NOT an app, but is online so students can access it at home too.
Lightbot and Lightbot Junior––these are the true coding apps from the Hour of Code. The Lightbot the app is free up to a certain level. Lightbot Junior is $3.49.
Lightbot Junior is suitable for students from Kindergarten up. It has a gentle learning curve and only a few concepts of coding are explored in detail. The program works through a symbol-based system and the code is displayed on the screen, so there is very little reading required and the app teaches each concept with a well-planned progression of skills. This app is a great place to start learning, and when students have mastered the concepts they can continue their learning with the Lightfoot app.Lightfoot is $3.49 or can also be bundled with Lighbot for $5.79.
Lightfoot is recommended for Grade 2 +. There are five sections and they all use a symbol-based system to control character movements. The code is displayed on the screen and is editable. A large range of coding concepts are covered and skills are built gradually. The app also has exciting graphics and sounds.
Kodable––a free app until you reach a certain level, but by the time this stage is reached students are usually ready to move to a different app. Best for younger students (Kindergarten and Grade 1). It uses a range of coding concepts with a lot of repetition and review of concepts. The app also has a range of learning resources.
Daisy the Dinosaur––a free app suitable for students in Grade 2 + (or younger if they can read). There are only a few tutorial levels where students learn basic codes, but the real value in this app is in the free play mode where students can explore combining the codes.
BeeBot––a free app suitable for students of any age. It has a gentle learning curve and is fun to play. One drawback to this app is that it does not display the code on screen and does not allow editing, which makes problem-solving solutions difficult.
BeeBot Pyramid––A more challenging version of BeeBot and it continues on from where Beebot ends. The learning curve is more challenging and it is recommended for Grade 2 +. The coding is done with a symbol based system that is engaging and feels like a game. Like BeeBot it does not display the code on screen. Price is $1.19.
Robot Logic––a free lite version ,or $2.49 for the full app. Suitable for Grade 1 +. It has a challenging learning curve but has voice tutorial for all new concepts. The coding is done through a symbol based system to control character movement. It covers only a few basic coding concepts but is challenging in the sub menu aspect and great for students who have completed basic coding concepts. Levels also have multiple solutions and points are given depending on the level of the code you write which challenges you to improve codes.
Move The Turtle––suitable for Grade 1 + and is unique as it uses Logo programming language. A wide range of coding concepts is covered and students can have their own accounts within the app which makes it handy for shared ipads. One drawback to this app is that it is very text-heavy, without voice instructions to help explain difficult parts. Price is $2.99.