Archive for November, 2013|Monthly archive page

Compilation of Tools and Resources for Learning about Educational Programming at Schools

In Becoming ruminative in education on November 29, 2013 at 12:23 PM

icon_programmingSchools and programming are no match?  No way.  Research had been done extensively in educational game design to show that young learners can be motivated by and guided through design-related tasks as they develop emergent digital literacy, designer mindset, and skills in collaboration, creative problem-solving, computational thinking, spatial reasoning and higher-order thinking.  I could still remember during the times when me and a team of researchers and game designers went to a charter school in Detroit to conduct game design workshops and saw the spark in boys and girls middle schoolers’ eyes when they were told they could become future game designers if they engage in serious thinking and expend effort in training and preparing themselves to become one.

There is always a start for everything, and I could see that those young boys and girls I had the opportunity to work with were excited to see a door opened for them.  They were young, aspiring, and fearless novice game player/designers who ventured into educational game design and gave it their best.  With proper administrative and technological support and incentive, I can see no reason why interested teachers should not learn how to utilize programming tools in school settings.

Below is a list of tools and resources about educational programming.  Some were suggested based on my experience in research and some were those I came across from reading other online resources (e.g., game-based learning blog).  Now please explore!

Children-friendly programming languages and tools:

  • Tynker — Drag and drop coding blocks to create digital stories or games and learn about the programming concept of looping, prototyping, and iterative game design.
  • Gamestar Mechanic — Quest-based and comic-style educational game design.
  • Microsoft Kodu — Entry level object-oriented programming tool.
  • Scratch –Drag and drop, media-rich interface.
  • Alice – Enables programmer to see real-time affects of actions.
  • EToys – Media-rich visual programming environment.
  • Waterbear – Drag and drop programming language.
  • ToonTalk – Teaches programming through puzzles.
  • Ruby – Allows beginners to create impressive games.
  • RoboMind – Learn to programme a virtual robot.

Online courses/tutorials:

  • Hackety Hack – Teaches Ruby, ideal for teens.
  • LearnStreet – Courses in JavaScript, Ruby, Python, HTML, and CSS where students can practice coding in their browsers.
  • – A collection of video tutorials covering a wide variety of formal coding languages.
  • Udemy – Covers a wide range of programming languages including: Java, Ruby, C++, PHP, HTML, CSS, and more.
  • Crunchzilla Code Monster – 59 hands-on lessons to teach JavaScript.
  • Codecademy – Courses in HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Python, Ruby, and PHP.
  • Code School – Courses in JavaScript, HTML, CSS, Ruby, and iOS.

Programming hardware:

  • Arduino – Hands-on code that interacts with the real world.
  • Lego Mindstorms – Create and programme physical robots through a visual programming language.
  • Raspberry Pi – Designed specifically to help kids learn to program like their parents may have done on computers like the Spectrum ZX and Commodore 64.
  • Brick Pi – Raspberry Pi programming Lego.


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