Free Know-how for Lecturers: Code.org vs. Blackbird Code | Tech Zen

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Within the final month, I’ve responded to a couple tweets from folks asking for my opinion on whether or not they need to use Code.org or Blackbird to assist them educate their college students to code. As you would possibly anticipate, there isn’t a single reply to that query. On this publish, I’ll share my expertise utilizing each in my classroom (ninth Grade Introduction to Programming). Hopefully my experiences will allow you to determine which one is finest in your college students.

Code.org CS Rules
Code.org CS Rules is a scripted curriculum that you should utilize to show an introduction to programming and networking fundamentals. In the event you’ve by no means taught coding or programming, the CSP syllabus is useful as a result of it lays out a step-by-step, day-by-day plan so that you can observe. All through the teachings, college students use Code.org’s Code Studio to observe utilizing the talents taught in every lesson.

Code.org’s Code Studio supplies a block programming interface. Every block represents a chunk of code. College students drag and drop the blocks to construct applications. As they get higher or extra accustomed to programming, college students can change from block programming to writing code in a textual content editor in Code Studio. My college students and I discovered the Code Studio UI a bit cluttered when displayed on 13″ Macbooks and really cluttered on 11″ Chromebooks. That does not imply that Code Studio would not work on these smaller screens, it simply signifies that we all the time felt like there was one thing hidden within the UI or not sufficient area to essentially see the complete image of what you had been doing. we’re working. It is like utilizing Google Docs on a cellphone display screen in that it really works, nevertheless it’s higher on a bigger display screen.

CSP classes typically embody video segments which are designed to offer a “actual world” context for the talent or idea being taught in that lesson. For probably the most half, my ninth graders reacted to those movies with expressions starting from “oh, now I get why…” to “blah” to “that is tacky.” I ended up utilizing my very own “actual world” examples as dietary supplements or replacements for the included video segments.

CSP is extra than simply coding classes. There are various classes on networking and the way the Web works. It truly is a sort of Whitman Sampler for all issues pc associated. It was good to provide college students broad publicity to the numerous instructions they’ll go along with pc science. That mentioned, there have been occasions when college students who had earlier coding expertise in highschool had been a bit aggravated or pissed off with the Code Studio expertise.

blackbird code
In contrast to Code.org, Blackbird doesn’t have any sort of block programming interface. From the very first lesson, college students do all of their programming in a textual content editor. In different phrases, they study to jot down Javascript and see what every line they write does. Typically, my college students most popular doing that to pull and drop in a block programming interface.

After I used Blackbird with my college students, there was just one curriculum to observe and there was a workshop area the place college students may work on no matter they wished whereas I may observe that workshop area remotely. Right this moment, Blackbird provides 4 curriculums to select from together with a workshop area the place college students can work on unbiased tasks.

Blackbird’s 4 curricula are Video games and Animations, Expressions and Equations, Magnet Rocket, and Ratios and Proportions. Whichever curriculum you select, Blackbird works the identical manner. That manner is to start out with a easy exercise that makes a dot or line seem on the display screen. College students then see a split-screen lesson that reveals them some transient directions on the left facet of the display screen and a code editor on the appropriate facet of the display screen. It’s within the break up display screen atmosphere that college students write their traces of code.

Blackbird supplies assist and tutorials that college students can entry whereas writing their Javascript applications. There’s a helpful “present” button that college students can click on once they get caught in a lesson. Clicking “present” reveals the answer and its rationalization. Nevertheless, college students nonetheless want to jot down the code to finish the lesson.

After I used Blackbird with my college students, they thought the primary few classes had been “too straightforward” and picked it up shortly (to be honest, all of them had some earlier coding expertise). By the point they received to the fourth or fifth lesson, they did not really feel that manner anymore. At the moment, they began utilizing the “present” button in Blackbird to get slightly assist writing their code. All college students felt that there was a number of repetition which, as one pupil identified, is an effective strategy to study the language.

If you do not have earlier programming educating expertise, Blackbird has some nice sources so that you can observe. That mentioned, it is not as properly written as Code.org. That is a superb factor as a result of I would relatively put my very own spin on classes than observe another person’s scripted lesson plan.

Which one do you have to use?
In case your focus is educating programming to center and highschool college students, my alternative is Blackbird. In case your class is a bit broader in scope, begin with CSP after which transition to Blackbird when your college students have outgrown Code Studio.

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Free Technology for Teachers: Code.org vs. Blackbird Code

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