Within the final month I’ve replied to a couple Tweets from folks asking for my opinion about whether or not they need to use Code.org or Blackbird to assist them train their college students how one can code. As you may count on, there isn’t a one-size-fits all reply to that query. On this submit I’ll share my expertise utilizing each in my classroom (ninth grade Intro to Programming). Hopefully, my experiences will make it easier to determine which is greatest to your college students.
Code.org CS Ideas
Code.org’s CS Ideas is a really scripted curriculum that you should utilize to show an introduction to programming and fundamental networking ideas. If in case you have by no means taught coding or programming, the CSP curriculum 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 gives a block programming interface. Every block represents a chunk of code. College students drag and drop the blocks to assemble applications. As they get higher or extra aware of programming college students can swap from block programming to writing code in a textual content editor within the Code Studio. My college students and I each discovered Code Studio’s person interface a bit crowded when displayed on 13” Macbooks and really crowded on 11” Chromebooks. That doesn’t imply Code Studio doesn’t work on these smaller screens, it simply signifies that we all the time felt like there was one thing both hiding within the UI and or that there wasn’t sufficient area to actually see the total image of what you’re engaged on. It’s form of like utilizing Google Docs on a telephone display in that it really works, nevertheless it’s higher on a bigger display.
The CSP classes usually embody video segments which are designed to supply some “actual world” context for the talent or idea taught in that lesson. For essentially the most half, my ninth grade college students 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 many classes about networking and the way the Web works. It truly is form of a Whitman’s Sampler of all issues associated to pc science. It was good for giving college students some broad publicity to the various instructions that they’ll go in with pc science. That mentioned, there have been instances when college students who had some earlier coding expertise in center faculty bought a bit aggravated or pissed off by the Code Studio expertise.
After I used Blackbird with my college students there was only one curriculum to observe and there was a workshop area the place college students might work on something they wished to whereas I might observe that workshop area remotely. Right this moment, Blackbird presents 4 curricula to select from together with a workshop area through which college students can work on impartial initiatives.
The 4 curricula in Blackbird are Video games and Animations, Expressions and Equations, Magnet Rocket, and Ratios and Proportions. Whichever curriculum you select, Blackbird works in the identical method. That method is to begin with a easy exercise that makes some extent or line seem on the display. College students then see a break up display lesson that exhibits them some transient directions on the left facet of the display and a code editor on the correct facet of the display. It’s within the break up display setting that college students write their traces of code.
After I used Blackbird with my college students they thought the primary few classes had been “too simple” they usually breezed proper via them (to be honest, all of them had some prior coding expertise). By the point they bought to the fourth or fifth lesson, they did not really feel that manner. At that time they began to make use of the “present me” button in Blackbird to get a bit assist writing their code. All the college students felt like there was loads of repetition which, as one scholar identified, is an efficient method to study the language.
When you don’t have any prior expertise educating programming, Blackbird does have some good sources so that you can observe. That mentioned, it’s not fairly as scripted as Code.org. That’s a very good factor as a result of I’d reasonably 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 on educating coding to center faculty and highschool college students, my decide is Blackbird. In case your class is a bit broader in scope begin with CSP then transition to Blackbird when your college students have outgrown utilizing Code Studio.