A few years ago at an EdTech conference at Randolph-Macon College, I went to a session by John Hendron on computer programming with kids using Scratch. The program was a lot of fun, and I tried to introduce it to my niece and nephew, but never with my class. But now at UVA, we are working with Scratch regularly, as it comes pre-installed in the Raspberry Pi software that we’re using. It has been fun using the program again, especially with some of the more advanced sensor inputs we’re including.
These sorts of programs are great ways to introduce kids to computer programming and coding. I really enjoy coding, personally. In high school I learned a little bit of HTML so that I could make websites on Geocities for my friends. I also took a class on TrueBasic in high school and C++ in college. This summer when I had a little free time in June, I logged into CodeAcademy.com and worked my way through a few lessons for fun. Code Academy has a popular app out now, “Hour of Code,” that has gotten some decent reviews.
One of my third-grade colleagues, Toni Hoosier, shared this link with me about Coding for Kids from Edutopia, 7 Apps for Teaching Children Coding Skills. It’s a great place to start for teachers (or parents!) who want to introduce their kids to this important skill.