programming Category

Text-based vs. Block-based coding

This blog post is more of a curation project than a blog post. I have put in one place various statements, beliefs, arguments, for or against, the use of block-based programming/coding with students. Some are clearly pro ‘text-based,’ some pro ‘block-based,’ while others are mixed and point out pros and cons based on certain factors […]

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Scratch vs. Swift Playgrounds

Ultimately, for me, it comes down to a single key issue: In the limited time we have with children each day in school, what is the best use of that time for learning? How are we designing and/or supporting powerful and empowering learning experiences for our students? I suppose you could think of it as a […]

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5 ways to turn the ‘hour of code’ into the ‘year of learning’

Last year I posted an article called Turn the Hour of Code into the Year of Learning. This year, I wanted to share a few ideas about how you might do that. After checking out some hour of code activities with your students (this year, officially, December 4 – 10), take a look at the […]

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Learning Design by Making Games (in Scratch)

During the summer of 2016, I read this book (left) edited by Yasmin Kafai and Mitch Resnick. I was inspired by Chapter 4 (called Learning Design by Making Games). In it, she described a study in which a group of 4th grade students spent one hour per day (over a six-month period) writing, designing and […]

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Star Wars and the micro:bit

“I wanted to make it play the theme from Star Wars.” So began a Grade 5 student’s response this week when I asked her what she was working on with her micro:bit program. It was her very first session with it but she, and the rest of class, did have several other experiences in recent […]

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“Coding to Learn” Outcomes

[Updated July 2017] I want to share my set of “coding to learn” outcomes. These are the things that I am looking for in children who are coding in educational contexts. These are the targets in my mind. To me, these represent the powerful learning potential in coding to learn. “Coding to Learn” Outcomes Students […]

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Scratch is the right place for coding

Coding in education is once again gaining more and more popularity in education. There are now too many coding tools, online and device-based, to keep up with. There are so many choices now for students, teachers, or for anyone looking at using coding in education. Choice is great but it creates a new challenge for […]

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Learning Design by Making Games

One of my favourite chapters in Constructionism in Practice was written by Yasmin Kafai: Learning Design by Making Games (pp. 71-123). She was interested in learning more about the development of children’s design strategies within the context of creating an authentic artifact – a computer game. Children were asked to design and create an interactive computer game that […]

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Mathland Reflections – Game Design

One of my blogging goals is to share more often about coding to learn experiences of the students I am working with at various schools. Case in point, on Friday, some grade 5 students were hard at work during their fourth session (our first was October 3) of game design using Scratch. In January, they […]

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Turn the “Hour of Code” into the “Year of Learning”

It’s great that so many students and teachers I know, and many whom I do not know (but am aware of via Twitter) are checking out code.org or other hour of code sites next week. There are so many great resources that always result in a fantastically exciting hour for students. Coding has become the current term […]

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