Unplugged Coding

Unplugged Coding

Episode 43: Unplugged Coding with Sandra Balisky

 

Be sure to join our Facebook group where we carry on the discussion about Homeschooling with Technology.

Sandra Balisky from Real World Learners is our guest today. She has a background as a math and English teacher and is now homeschooling her own children and working on an online math course for early elementary students. You can find her on Facebook and Instagram

Sandra explained the concept of “unplugged coding” (listen to the episode to hear what it is!)

What coding skills can you learn when you’re not using a computer?

  • Writing a “program” for others to follow that includes giving precise directions. This often entails using positions on a grid or using degrees in a circle to describe location
  • Learning about binary code, how it works and why computers use it, and how to create a simple set of directions with on/off conditions
  • Understanding and coming up with conditional statements (if/then) and playing around with how those affect the overall “gameplay” experience
  • Learning the ins and outs of computer hardware and software
  • Using loops to eliminate repetition and make the code as simple and concise as possible
  • Learning about digital citizenship and how to safely and effectively navigate the online world
  • Developing a growth mindset!! These activities will stretch kids to think and problem solve in new, creative ways. It will also encourage them to persevere and not give up in the face of challenges!

Where can I find resources to help my kids have fun learning these skills without sitting in front of a screen?

Sandra has a post about unplugged coding with a free printable unplugged coding game and she has other unplugged activities for sale:

More Resources that offer lists of activities, printables, and ideas for things to do to practice coding skills offline.

Once your children have learned some principles of coding from unplugged activities, consider signing them up for one of Fundafunda Academy’s Intro to Game Programming Online Class.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review!

Contact Meryl via email on meryl@mediaangels.com or connect with her on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook

How to practice coding without a computer #unpluggedcoding #codingforkids @codingfun


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Programming with Scratch

Programming with Scratch

Episode 37: Programming with Scratch

 

In episode 11, I covered ways to introduce your children to programming. One of those ways was Scratch, and in this episode, I will go into more detail about programming with Scratch.

What is Scratch?

Scratch was created by a team at MIT to be an accessible way for children to learn to code. It is free and can be used online, or it can be downloaded. Scratch can be used by children from age 8 all the way through high school. Younger children can use the Scratch Junior app on an iPad.

Scratch is block based. Students don’t need to type the code but just drag the blogs and stack them together

Learn more about Scratch from this TED talk by Mitchel Resnick who headed up the MIT team that developed it.

Why is Scratch great to use for coding?

  • It is easy to use. Students can learn the basics quickly.
  • It is fun to use.
  • Completed programs can be easily shared
  • Students can play each other’s games with one click see how it was coded
  • .

What can you do with Scratch?

Scratch can be used to create interactive cards, animated stories and many different types of games.

Here are some examples:

Cloud Catcher Game
Shoot the Fishes
Beach Hunt
Lucky Shot

Be sure to take a look at FundaFunda Academy’s online Scratch classes. You can select 5-week self-paced ones that progress from Beginner to Advanced or a one-semester class that can be taken over the summer or during any semester. The full semester classes are equal to all 3 of the 5-week classes and will earn high schoolers a 1/2 credit in computer programming.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review!

Contact Meryl via email on meryl@mediaangels.com or connect with her on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook

And join our Facebook group.

Programming with Scratch #learntocode #scratchprogramming #homeschoolpodcast

How to introduce your kids to programming

How to Introduce your Children to Programming


Episode 11: How to introduce your kids to programming

Why is it necessary for children to learn to code?

1. This is where the future lies. “Career track” jobs which need coding skills pay $22,000 per year more than jobs that don’t. Half of the jobs in the top income quartile (>$57,000 per year) are in occupations that need coding skills. And, programming jobs are growing 50% faster than the market overall.
Source: Burning Glass Technologies. http://www.burning-glass.com. 2018.

2. Programming teaches logic, problem-solving, learning how to think – and it stimulates creativity. All skills students need.

How can you introduce your children to coding?

1. Hour of Code – one-hour coding activities for all ages levels of experience

2. Offline / unplugged games – Code.org has a number of lesson plans. And here is an offline game where you choreograph a robot dance.

3. Board games – Thinkfun has a number for all ages – RobotTurtles young children, Codemaster and Robot Repair for older)

4. Robotics – WonderWorkshop Dash and Dot, Lego Mindstorms, First Lego League

5. Apps – Daisy the Dinosaur, Lightbot (2.99), Kodable

6. Scratch Jr (iPad) and Scratch are easy drag-and-drop languages.

7. FundaFunda Academy (the sponsor of this podcast) has classes for all levels – Intro to Game Programming, Scratch and Python

Until 23rd December 2018 students from grades 4 through 12 can compete in a Scratch Christmas Coding Contest offered by FundaFunda Academy. There are 2 divisions – one for those who have never coded in Scratch before (instruction will be provided) and one for those who have.

If you found this useful, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review!

Contact Meryl via email on meryl@mediaangels.com or connect with her on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook

How to Introduce your Children to Programming