ScratchJr – Coding for young children

Coding is the new literacy! With ScratchJr, young children (ages 5-7) can program their own interactive stories and games. In the process, they learn to solve problems, design projects, and express themselves creatively on the computer.

With the New ScratchJr App, Any Child Can Learn Coding on the iPad Today

review by Matt Doyle on     Brightpips

As computers and digital devices become commonplace, computer programming is becoming an increasingly useful skill for kids to learn. Many schools are now teaching coding skills as part of their curriculum, even with students as young as five or six. Some educators such as MIT’s Mitchel Resnick go as far as to say that coding is the new literacy — as important to a child’s education as reading and writing skills.

The great news is that, thanks to modern technologies such as the iPad, young kids can pick up coding skills even before they can read and write. This is exactly what ScratchJr is designed for.

Little Big Planet 2 – Logic Tutorials by QuietlyWrong on PSN Forum

Very useful tutorials for powerful logic capabilities of Little Big Planet 2, created by user QuietlyWrong on http://community.eu.playstation.com

LBP2 Logic Level Link

#1 Boolean Logic, AND and OR
Welcome to the first in a series of articles in which I hope to explain as much as I can about using Logic in LBP2. I’m going to start from the very beginning and work up to some complex systems with a load of examples on the way. Please give me feedback to stop me getting bored!…

#2 Microchips in LBP2
In the first tutorial, I was building the logic right on the level. This isn’t normally the best place to put it. LBP2 provides you with a gadget that is specially designed to hold logic circuits…

#3 NOT, truth tables, XOR and inversions
So far, we’ve looked at ways of combining signals from two or more inputs. If you remember back to the first tutorial, we saw how the AND gate responds if ALL of the inputs are on and the OR gate responds if ANY of the inputs is on.
The NOT gate is unique in that it only operates on a single input – a single wire…

#4 Timers and Counters
The next thing I’d like to talk about are timers and counters. These are incredibly useful – so useful, in fact, that when I was trying to come up with logic examples for the tutorials and the tutorial level, I struggled to avoid introducing one or the other of these ‘advanced logic’ gadgets. They really are the bedrock of gameplay logic, and it’s worth spending some time getting to know these two gadgets and how the various tweak options work…

Coding for Kindergarteners

 

Coding for Kindergarteners

 

Published on edutopia.org, by Sam Patterson

Last year at this time, I was trying not to think about kindergarteners. I was still teaching ninth grade English and had just accepted a job teaching technology to K-5. I was excited about the challenge, and I knew that I’d bitten off more than I could chew.

….

There are many ways to get pre-reading students to engage in meaningful coding challenges that develop computational thinking. My short list includes KodableLEGO MINDSTORMS Fix the Factory, and Bee Bots. With Tynkerand the planned release of Scratch Jr, it seems like there are new platforms to support young coding all the time. As a critical and reflective teacher, I know that any of these tools is only as good as the lesson it supports.

Practical Tips for the Early Grades

Elements of Programming That Support Pre-Readers

  1. Sequence
  2. The concept of code (written language)
  3. Cause and effect
  4. Counting
  5. Planning
  6. Left-to-right reading
  7. Problem solving

Read full post Coding for Kindergarteners

Apple introduces new programming language – Swift

https://developer.apple.com/swift/

From Apple press relase:

Swift is a powerful new programming language for iOS and OS X® that makes it easier than ever for developers to create incredible apps. Designed for Cocoa® and Cocoa Touch®, Swift combines the performance and efficiency of compiled languages with the simplicity and interactivity of popular scripting languages. By design, Swift helps developers write safer and more reliable code by eliminating entire categories of common programming errors, and coexists with Objective-C® code, so developers can easily integrate Swift into their existing apps. Xcode® Playgrounds make writing Swift code incredibly interactive by instantly displaying the output of Swift code.

The educational implications of Swift (by lizTheDeveloper)

http://lizthedeveloper.com/the-educational-implications-of-swift

Overlooked so far (I know, it hasn’t been that long) are the educational implications of Swift. Swift playgrounds are an amazing innovation in introducing new developers to concepts of programming that are often overlooked, and not well understood by new developers.

Why Swift isn’t just for programmers (by Alex)

http://medium.com/@au42/why-swift-isnt-just-for-programmers-a0b36b7d321c

Swift does something I wish I had when I was in high school: A way to program that’s interactive and fun — not just a text file.

Swift promises to make programming Cocoa apps easier and quicker than it’s predecessor Objective-C, all while retaining the same power and capabilities of a high-level language. While it requires OS X or iOS, it still has a much farther reach than MATLAB could ever hope to achieve. Currently, a home license will run about  for home use, and  for a full commercial license. In contrast, Swift will be on every updated OS X computer by next year for free — and Apple has no indication of dropping support any time soon. For a hobbyist with a Mac that wants a simple way to program, the choice is clear.

Swift’s benefits aren’t just monetary either. For a person with no experience programming, the ability to build a full app on Apple’s ecosystem with a minimal amount of programming is incredibly promising. Imagine being a new programmer and you’ve finally built something you want to share. With Swift, the transition to Playground to stand-alone app is near seamless, something MATLAB can’t really do.

Why Coders Are Going Nuts Over Apple’s New Programming Language (by Cade Metz)

Why Coders Are Going Nuts Over Apple’s New Programming Language

WWDC is a gathering of people who build software applications for Apple hardware devices—from the iPhone and the iPad to the Mac—and with its new language, dubbed Swift, Apple is apparently providing a much faster and more effective means of doing so, significantly improving on its current language of choice, Objective-C. With something that Apple calls an “interactive playground,” Swift is even exploring a highly visual kind of programming that may go beyond other mainstream languages. All those developers went nuts not only because they love Apple, but because the new language could make their lives that much easier.

Great collection of coding tutorials, recommended by programmers

http://teachyourselftocode.com/

 

Quote from the site:

Four years ago, a friend lent me his Rails book and I took it with me on a family vacation and learned Rails. I was happy to discover that programming itself was fun, but also realized it was power. Anything I could imagine, I could build. Suddenly I was having new ideas about every problem I encountered, and the ability to act on them. It changed the way I thought. 

Don’t believe people who say that learning to code is easy. Better to go in knowing that it’s hard and frustrating and that most of the time you will feel like you have no idea what you’re doing. There are a lot of people who will help you, at Meetups or on StackOverflow. But if you don’t know where to start, I made this site for you. 
Have fun. 

 

KODU Game Lab

http://www.kodugamelab.com/about/

Introduction to Kodu video

An overview of Kodu. (Click to play)

What is Kodu?

Kodu lets kids create games on the PC and Xbox via a simple visual programming language. Kodu can be used to teach creativity, problem solving, storytelling, as well as programming. Anyone can use Kodu to make a game, young children as well as adults with no design or programming skills.

Since Kodu’s introduction in 2009, we have visited the White House, teamed up with great groups like NCWITand DigiGirlz, inspired academic research and been the subject of a book (Kodu for Kids).

Kodu for the PC is available to download for free. Kodu for the Xbox is also available in the USA on the Xbox Marketplace, in the Indie Games channel for about

Teach programming using Minecraft: Pi Edition

http://minecraft.gamepedia.com/Pi_Edition

Minecraft: Pi Edition is a version of Minecraft developed for the Raspberry Pi. It is based on the already existing Pocket Edition but is slightly cut down, containing a revised feature set and support for multiple programming languages. The Pi Edition is intended as an educational tool for novice programmers. It is available to download for free, from the official downloads page and users are encouraged to open and change the game’s code using its API.[2]

On http://www.stuffaboutcode.com/p/minecraft.html there are some very useful resources for starting programming with Pi Edition API

Minecraft

Minecraft is brilliant, and the Pi edition doubly so, its free and the API is absolutely genius, allowing you to alter the world in real-time.  I have used the api to create a load of cools things, from a real-time clock to an operational cannon.

Which Coding Language Is Right For You? – an article by Selena Larson on readwrite.com

Coding is all the rage these days. Students of all ages and adults already in the workforce are increasingly encouraged to learn programming. Even President Obama said everyone should learn to code.

There are countless resources that offer the opportunity to learn different skills. From free online classes through services like Codecademy to multi-thousand dollar programs that promise to turn you into a bona fide software engineer in nine weeks.

But the question remains: Does everyone really need to learn to code?

The answer is no, at least if you’re not in an industry that relies on technology. But that pool of workers is gradually shrinking.

Gregg Pollack, founder of learn-to-code service Code School, says anyone who has to communicate with a developer at any point in their career should learn the basics of programming.

“If you learn some code, you’ll have a much better appreciation for what they do,” Pollack said. “Take the time to understand what it is and how to effectively communicate with programmers.” 

If your goal is to just understand programming concepts, you can play around with a few coding languages and see which one you prefer to learn. However, if you have a goal in mind—such as building an iOS application or a responsive Web page—you need the right tool for the job.

 

Read full article

Which Coding Language Is Right For You?

Teaching Kids Programming

A new resource for teaching Programming to kids, based on the “Intentional Method”:

http://teachingkidsprogramming.org/blog/teachers-learn-to-teach-programming/

Teaching Kids Programming

The TKP Intentional Method

We at ‘Teaching Kids Programming’ have invented and use a new method of teaching children programming. We call this the intentional method. It consists of courseware and teaching techniques. All of this material is freely available to use and improve.  The Intentional Method simply stated is teaching by guiding pairs of children from English comments (the intention) to code those comments correctly into some other programming language.  The core programming language that we use is Microsoft SmallBasic.  We have also developed Intentional teaching materials for Java, T-SQL and for Microsoft Kodu (visual programming).  There are a few key concepts that we attempt to follow in writing and in teaching all our TKP lessons (recipes).  These concepts include the following:

1) One line of English = One line of code

2) Code one line and then run your program to verify that your translation was correct

3) After correctly coding a line of English (comment), then delete that line

We have done this mainly with the SmallBasic Recipes, but have extended to a few other classes.

More Information:
Who are our Teachers? 
Our teachers are volunteers. They come from the professional developer community. We’ve also done work with classroom teachers. We’ve heard from homerschoolers as well. If you’d like to teach our courseware we recommend you complete the courseware, as a student, first. Then process to our ‘teaching tips` sections(s) of this website. In particular, you may want to take a look at our teaching training videos.

http://teachingkidsprogramming.org/blog/

Help, My Kids Are Obsessed With Minecraft!

http://www.snagglebox.com/2013/07/Minecraft-obsession.html

A very interesting article about Minecraft addiction on http://www.snagglebox.com

Help, My Kids Are Obsessed With Minecraft!

The gateway to the great wide beyond

Despite the fact that Minecraft isn’t a game that was specifically designed for kids, millions have taken to it with a passion and loyalty usually only reserved for books about boy wizards. The game is now everywhere and its fans can be extremely devoted… and this is where the problem lies for a lot of parents.

Their kids eat, sleep and breathe Minecraft. They want to play it all day and night… and if they’re not playing it then they’re talking about playing it, or watching YouTube videos of other people playing it.

So what is it about the game that brings on this level of devotion? How do you get okay with that, and where’s the line between obsession and addiction?

Read the full article

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On the same site you can find a detailed Parent’s Guide to Minecraft with lots of informative arcticles:

http://www.snagglebox.com/p/handy-minecraft-tips-for-parents.html

The Parent’s Guide To… 

Are your kids hounding you to play Minecraft… but you’re not sure whether it’s okay?
Do they already play (all day and night) and you want to know what the big deal is?
Are they yelling about creepers and spawns and butter and spider jockeys and biomes and sticky pistons and mods… and you don’t know what the hell they’re talking about?
Do you want to make the game run faster or add cheats to make it easier for them?

Well this page is for you!

MINECRAFT 101 FOR PARENTS

HOW-TO GUIDES (for computer version)

ARTICLES

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