hour of code

4 Fresh Approaches to Coding in The Classroom

Check out these new, inspiring spins on learning coding in the classroom from ISTE 2017.


Monthly InspirationBitsbox

There seems to be a subscription box for every interest, and thanks to Bitsbox that now extends to coding. Bitsbox sends kids a box each month containing coding projects — almost like little recipe cards for apps. These projects have fun themes (such as making robots dance or throwing homework into a black hole) and invite students to play around with pre-written code to modify small-scale apps they can show and share.

As kids’ skills develop month to month, they can take on bigger challenges, even writing their own code using Bitsbox’s version of JavaScript. Bitsbox’s bet is that the monthly subscription-box format does something a lot of other competitors in the coding space don’t do: hook kids early and engage them over time. They definitely have a shot; I can imagine kids who might burn out on a typical coding app could get reengaged by Bitsbox’s arrival each month. Beyond the monthly model, teachers and librarians might want to check out their classroom kits.


Virtual Reality StorytellingCoSpaces

CoSpaces is only the second developer (zSpace being the other) I’ve seen working on how to turn students from virtual reality (VR) consumers into VR creators. Of course, consumer-facing products such as Minecraft or Tilt Brush can be adapted for classroom use, but CoSpaces is launching a classroom-specific solution, CoSpaces Edu. They’ve built an interesting platform that effectively turns VR into a creative platform for student expression — from telling stories to modeling environments to exhibiting work.

For students and teachers who want to add depth to the experience, there’s also support for scripting using either Blockly (beginner) or JavaScript (advanced). Using one of these languages, students can model and animate objects, adding an extra layer of learning to the engaging experience of VR creation.

 [Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on Common Sense Education.]

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