Our goal at Kodable has always been not to just teach kids how to think like a programmer, but to prepare them to learn a real programming language by the time they reach middle school. The challenge that most educators face when making this jump is that block-based coding and syntax based coding are very visually different things. This is where we see most kids get frustrated and stop coding altogether! You can’t simply toggle from one to another and assume kids will make the connection. And that’s why we created KODE.
Let’s get ready to KODE!
this.body = new FuzzBody(“Black”);
This line of code sets the body type of a created fuzz character to have black fur. There are seven different parts to this one line of code:
The keyword “this”
The property “body”
The “=” sign
The word “new”
The Class “FuzzBody”
The string “Black”
If that looks like a lot – it is! What’s more, if you’re an educator, you know that explaining all seven of these parts to a six or seven year old child is going to be…a challenge. Well, the good news is that with KODE you don’t have to – because while there are seven pieces, there are only two important parts on this line:
Choosing the property we want to set – ‘this.body’
Setting the value for that property – “new FuzzBody(“Black”);.
With KODE, we focus on maintaining a one-to-one relationship between logical segments of code and a child’s interaction with that screen (i.e. a tap or click) to reinforce comprehension of key concepts while abstracting out the excess noise. In this instance, all a child needs to do is tap to choose they want to set the body type:
Then select the corresponding body type that they’d like to use:
The KODE Editor
Now, when using the KODE editor, you’ll see the KODE editor everywhere you write code. We’ve designed it to be modular – so you might see slightly different versions in Asteroidia than the Fuzz Builder – but the editor is separated into five logical parts:
This is where your code lives. Newly written lines appear here, and lines you have completed can be edited here as well.
This is where you go first to write your code! It is separated into two parts:
You can add properties and functions from here, and contextual hints help kids know where to place them in their programs.
When writing a new function or property, the library pane will contextually swap with the value pane to show all available values and inputs available for the code you are writing.
See the output of your code here. This is done in real time, so all changes are visible immediately after writing each line.
Learning is a life-long journey, pace yourself!
“Now what about those other areas you didn’t use?” you might ask. “Aren’t they important?” Of course they are! But not for six year-olds. Most kids at these ages are still learning how to write their names, let alone write code. We have a long time before they’ll be building the next Google or Facebook, so its OK if we start with just the essentials and add more detail as they get older.
We’re just getting started
This is just the first step in what is an exciting new chapter for Kodable. In the coming months we’ll be adding all kinds of new features to KODE, integrating it more fully into the all-new Bug World, and making it easier for kids to share their creations with the world. We can’t wait to share it all with you soon!
Over the past few months, I’ve had the honor to personally work with hundreds of applicants for our Kodable for Everyone initiative. When my cofounder Grechen and I founded Kodable, we did so with the belief that computer science education had the power to transform and improve even the poorest of communities. However, we also believe that the best way to have a lasting impact on the world is by building a stable company that can afford to continue improving its product and support the tens of thousands of schools that use us every year.
This unfortunately means that there are some schools that simply can’t afford to purchase everything we offer. However, as Kodable has grown and prospered throughout the years, we’ve started looking for ways that we could give back. Thus, Kodable for Everyone was born.
With Kodable for Everyone, we’ve donated the full Kodable K-5 Curriculum (valued at $2,700) to schools in need around the world, no strings attached. We set out to find schools that could help us achieve that transformative effect in their communities that we want Kodable to have on the entire world. Every applicant was considered on their own individual merits, but we had some general areas of focus when selecting winners:
Computer Science education has been sweeping the globe. Most major cities have already enacted their own CS initiatives, often with the generous help of major companies and nonprofits. However, some of the smaller communities that could most benefit from a 21st century education can get overlooked. We decided to focus on those areas. There’s already a CS for NYC initiative, there’s no CS for Mobile, Alabama.
We had a heavy preference toward schools that would be able to implement the Kodable Curriculum for their entire student body as opposed to just one classroom or grade level.
We believe that Computer Science should be taught with structure, by a teacher, in a classroom setting. This is why we’ve built one of the worlds leading scaffolded CS curriculums complete with scope and sequence, scripted lesson plans, and progress reporting. We had a strong leaning towards schools that had been, and would continue to use Kodable in a structured, pedagogical way, as opposed to just letting students play through our game content.
In schools, change usually begins with the administration. We looked for schools that had administrators that really supported computer science, understood the benefits, and believed that it should be taught to every child that walks through their doors.
Most schools are not fortunate enough to have a dedicated CS budget. Usually the money comes from a general fund or technology budget. However, we looked for schools facing real financial hardships instead of just limited budget money. There is a difference between an underfunded school housing refugee students that needs the money to provide take-home meals and a school electing to purchase a typing curriculum instead.
It was a truly humbling experience to see how much these schools have accomplished in their communities. So without further ado, it is my honor to introduce the 2019 Kodable for Everyone winners:
Benjamin Franklin Elementary School (Keene, New Hampshire)
Located in rural New Hampshire, Benjamin Franklin serves many students with traumatic home lives, which the Franklin staff goes above and beyond to help. Among other things, they incorporate mindfulness moments in the day, and the custodian and principal give every child a high five as they enter the building every morning.
Cedaredge Elementary (Cedaredge, Colorado)
Nestled in western Colorado in a town with a population of just 2,253, Cedaredge Elementary is committed to a culture that provides sense of belonging to all students. A Capturing Kids’ Hearts National Showcase School (One of ~100 schools out of 10,000 chosen), the staff go well above and beyond to make sure that none of their students get left behind. The past few years the school has had a particular focus on things such as including an emphasis on supporting and educating the whole child, incorporating Mind Brain Education (MBE) into their instructional practice and student learning and, also, building in more academic discourse for students to more thoroughly share their reasoning/thinking.
Central Elementary School (Bellows Falls, Vermont)
Central Elementary School is a located in a small village town in Vermont. The staff go above and beyond their contract donating time, money and goods to improve the lives of their students. Students and staff work together to create a community of caring, responsible and respectful people. This year, they started a very low budget maker space by repurposing materials for building and relying on donations of Legos and other materials. As a “Leader in Me” school, they value kindness and perseverance. Central also has yearly school themes such as Dare to Care (taking care of self, community and the world,) Get Out and Play!, and Full Steam Ahead (a whole year dedicated to STEAM activities.)
Collins-Rhodes Elementary School (Eight Mile, Alabama)
Home to one of the most caring teachers we’ve ever met, Demetra S. Adams, Collins-Rhode is located just north of Mobile, Alabama. Even though almost every student receives free lunch and many families live well below median income level, students arrive energetic and ready to learn each day. Though many view their students as those who are “in need,” Collins-Rhodes students are always thinking of ways that they can help others. They hope to one day give back to their community by being employed by the viable industries located within the community.
Comstock Green Meadow Elementary School (Kalamazoo, Michigan)
Green Meadow Elementary School recently was awarded “Lighthouse” status as a Leader in Me School. Green Meadow began the Leader in Me process four years ago, which included leadership, cultural, and academic changes. Even though their school is 92% economically disadvantaged, and their students come from diverse backgrounds, they have met and exceeded expectations in every way.
Confluence Academies – South City Academy (St Louis, Missouri)
Located in our founder Jon’s hometown of St Louis, Missouri, Confluence Academies is dedicated to helping each of their students. Even though many come from traumatic home lives, Confluence boasts incredible attendance records and students that come every day willing to learn
Cringila Public School (New South Wales, Australia)
Cringila Public School’s enrolment includes 27% refugee students and 92% of students are from families with limited access to emerging technologies. Cringila launched a K-6 STEM program in 2018 aimed to improve the educational outcomes of all students and promote not only a whole school rise in Digital Literacy, but also a whole community focus on STEM practices which will positively impact on the future professional success of their studentsEdgewood Elementary (Trenton, Ohio)
Facing drastic district cuts in electives, Edgewood has had to find new ways to bring opportunities to their students. They recently started a STEM club and integrated “tech centers” into the classroom, but faced difficulty with funding for it. Even with these struggles, they find ways to provide clothes, weekend snack bags, supplies and keep a giving closet stocked with snacks and other needed items for students who are going without.
Gabriella Charter School 2 (Los Angeles, California)
Certainly the most unique school on our list, Gabriella Charter School infuses dance in all parts of the curriculum. Students also receive at least one hour of dance instruction daily. Last year with the help of their dance teachers, students learned how to use “coding” to communicate with others in dance. Students coded their movements and were able to give choreographic instructions to others to follow. Located in South Central Los Angeles, about 75% of the adult population in the surrounding area never finished high school. Gabriella hopes Computer Science education at the elementary level will mean the opportunity for students to be exposed to ideas that they would likely never had exposure to at home.
John Moffet Elementary School (Philadelphia, PA)
Being located in Kensington, Philadelphia, hasn’t stopped John Moffet Elementary from running a full makerspace for their students. They use STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) with all of their K-5 students, tying in what material is being taught in the classroom so that the makerspace enriches all of their curriculum.
Kansas City International Academy (Kansas City, Missouri)
Kansas City International Academy is an international school with a high refugee population. They serve students from over 21 different countries speaking over 15 different languages. They believe in empowering students to overcome the difficult situations they face in their daily lives, and encouraging them to learn about the unique cultures of their peers and their own families.
Monte Vista Elementary School (Las Cruces, New Mexico)
Positioned right near the USA/Mexico border in Las Cruces, Monte Vista serves a wide variety of students. To foster community, they have an annual Family Coding night where students show their parents how to code. They also have a First Robotics League team and Girls Who Code program after school.
Morrill Elementary (Morrill, Nebraska)
Morrill Elementary is committed to empowering students to become confident, knowledgeable, productive and responsible citizens of a diverse, ever-changing world. In a time when students can learn faster than teachers can talk, the teachers at Morrill understand that we must be facilitators of learning rather dispensers of information. They strive to equip students for the world they are going to graduate into rather than for the world from which they came.
Norway Elementary School (Norway, Michigan)
Norway Elementary is part of a small but very caring district in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Their school participates in a number of innovative initiatives with a lot of community involvement. These include things like “20 time” projects that help students get hands on passion projects that also connect with their community, and some staff even run community technology courses at local restaurants to get more community members to understand and enjoy Computer Science.
P.S. 233 – Langston Hughes (Brooklyn, New York)
The only school from New York City to be selected, Langston Hughes began teaching computer science lessons to students in the library last year. Their tireless and dedicated staff works to engage every student, many who are first generation Caribbean/West Indies residents. With support from administration, Computer Science education has become a main focus of their entire school’s curriculum moving forward.
Papago School (Phoenix, Arizona)
Papago is part of a diverse community in central Phoenix, Arizona, but hasn’t let them stop that from bringing innovation in education to their students. With support from their principal, Papago recently designated themselves a “signature school” focusing on coding and robotics. This has paid off in spades, and just in the last year they’ve had students work towards creating apps to help combat teen depression.
Risdon Vale Primary (Tasmania, Australia)
Located south of Sydney in the Australian state of Tasmania, Risdon Vale just added their first computer room to support ICT. Very few students have access to computers at home, and teachers help develop knowledge and skills to design, create, problem solve and evaluate digital resources individually and collaboratively to meet the demands of living in the 21st century.
Rochester Elementary/Middle School (Rochester, PA)
Rochester Elementary/Middle School is located in a small town north of Pittsburgh. They’ve recently created two maker spaces for their students using grant money and even provide in-house therapists and three hot meals a day to help students with distressing home lives.
Southwest Florida Juvenile Detention Center (Fort Myers, Florida)
Rosann Carson has spent over 20 years working at the Southwest Florida Juvenile Detention Center. We want to let her words speak for us here:
My students reside and attend school at a detention center in Lee County, Florida. Many of the students who are ordered here through the court system do not attend school on the “outs” on a regular basis. While here, it is mandatory that they attend school daily.
So far this school year, I have not had any student that has been enrolled in a computer science, programming or coding class while attending school on the “outs”, as we call it. According to my students, it doesn’t appear to be something they would be interested in and sounds like a very difficult class made for “only smart or rich kids”. Introducing my students to computer science appears to be changing how they feel about this subject. My students come in with all types of problems and they are starting to use what they are learning in their computer science class to help solve some of their real-life problems. This is a huge plus in my book! This award will allow my students to explore the world of computer science to perhaps make them consider going back to their home school and enrolling in computer science classes once they are released from the detention center. They are already excited about the different options they can take in this field and the money that can be made, so I’m hopeful this can steer them in the right direction and keep them from getting into more trouble.
Again, I appreciate this opportunity you have given my school to allow my students to see that they can achieve anything they set their minds to do. Just because they have stumbled upon a troubled path does not mean they have to continue walking down it.
Kodable is a great way for even the youngest kids to learn programming skills because we use elements such as numbers and colors instead of complicated syntax and code. We’ve spent a lot of time developing this intuitive, accessible interface for kids to learn because we believe every child should have the chance to learn to code. Recently, the Kodable team faced a statistic that we had not accounted for – almost 5% of kids are colorblind!
What does it mean to be colorblind? In simplest terms it means that you have trouble differentiating between certain colors. This picture from colorblindawareness.org illustrates how someone who is colorblind might see different colored objects.
With Kodable being used by over 15 million kids worldwide, this meant that 750,000 kids couldn’t use Kodable correctly. Obviously we wanted to change that.
The spark for change came the day we hired Greg, our new designer. Greg is one of the most talented artists I’ve ever met, but after a week at Kodable I learned an interesting fact about Greg – Greg is colorblind! He couldn’t easily differentiate between conditions in Smeeborg or strings in Asteroidea. Together we decided to make a change.
How we’re making Kodable Colorblind Accessible
Starting with version 8.2, Kodable will now feature a Colorblind Mode that can be enabled or disabled at any time.
What is different?
When enabled, this mode adds a pattern or texture to all game elements in Kodable that differentiate themselves based on color.
Here is an example of this in practice in Asteroidea. We add striped patterns to red and green variables to differentiate between the types. We’ve also matched the patterns with the corresponding asteroids, as is visible below:
This is a free update that will be available to every teacher and parent on every device that runs Kodable. Our mission is to help give all children the opportunity to learn computer science, and we feel that this brings us a little closer to that goal.
The school year is coming to a close and everyone is itching for a brain break. Enjoy these four free coding challenges to get kids moving, creating and thinking about code. Three of the lessons include a sample of unplugged activities from our paid plans.
Show What You Know!
Sequence Coding Challenge – Grades K-2
Students will design, draw, & solve their own programming problems. Sample of the unplugged activity from Sequence Capstone Lesson on the Kodable School plan.
Get Creative! Students will draw a maze
Write the answer or share with a partner
Take your design to the next level. Create it in the Kodable Maze Maker!
Wow! What an exciting month! We received over 30,000 submissions for our Maze Maker Challenge. We were blown away with the quality of some of the mazes that they made, and there were easily hundreds of mazes that could have won!
After a lot of tough deliberation, we were able to choose our favorite 20 mazes. Then, we let you and your students vote for your 5 favorites. And vote you did! Over 50,000 votes were cast by students all around the world, and at long last, we have our winners!
Without further ado…your 5 Maze Maker Winners!
These 5 mazes will be permanently included in Kodable for millions of kids around the world to play. But that’s not all! Our 20 finalists will all remain playable until June, completely free! So be sure to update Kodable to the latest version and check them all out – we’re sure you’ll be as impressed as we are!
I can barely believe it has been 6 years since we started Kodable. The CS community has been on quite a journey since then, and continues to develop. Today we’re announcing some changes to our plans and pricing to meet schools within our community where they are.
Many schools and districts believe in the importance of computer science. The innovators and superstars across the US are making coding happen for their students because they believe it will be one of the most important skills their students will learn. However, that means going though the thoughtful and sometimes long, bureaucratic process of getting approval and finding the time for computer science in the already packed curriculum.
I spend half of most days talking to educators who want to implement a computer science curriculum in their school, but they need to prove its value to their administrators, co-teachers and school community before they can get the funds to invest in it. On the other hand, in order for Kodable to continue, we have to offer a product of value that schools are willing (and able) to pay for. So today, I am excited to reveal something we have been working hard to test and create for schools: A paid plan that is designed to allow educators to experiment, explore, and demonstrate the value of computer science.
Why is the game access plan is a great option?
The Kodable Game Access plan gives you access to all of the Kodable game content at a price that makes sense for most US schools right now. You’ll get access to all the student practice levels and some teaching materials so you can demonstrate just how valuable this education is to your students, on your own terms.
Increase Exploration and Student-Driven Learning
The game access plan gives you access to all the student practice and creative content. You can decide to open up all levels for your students to explore and work at their own pace, make unlimited mazes, fuzzes and more. Or if you’re ready to do some instruction and want to pace students according to your schedule, you can assign content to them super easily!
Guidance for Each Concept is Easily Accessible
Explore computer science without the pressure of finding time for lessons every week. You’ll still have access to all the teacher guides which explain each concept, the vocabulary and real world applications. We’ve even included short videos for teachers so you can explain new concepts to students with confidence.
Easier Transition to a Structured Curriculum
Principals and administrators appreciate when a new instructional tool is implemented with care. Most principals are able and willing to spend a few hundred dollars to prove something is worthwhile and will be used. Then when you and your school are ready, you can make the transition to something more structured with a year or more of practice under your belt.
What is included with the Game Access Plan?
Get access to all the student content in Kodable.
Your entire school has access for the entire year.
Students can design as many mazes as they want and share them with the entire class.
Allow students to play and learn at their own pace or assign content to them as you go.
Encourage other teachers at your school to teach coding. You can invite them every teacher at your school.
With all the research we’ve done on how teachers are using Kodable, I hope you’ll find this new plan is a good fit for your school. Now is the time to make the case for Kodable in your school. Most administrators are making their budgets now. If you feel like this new option is just right for your school submit it for approval.
Is your school ready for structured computer science?
I’m happy to help you decide which option is the best fit for your school.
Since we released our Maze Maker 9 months ago, we’ve beenblown away by the ingenuity and creativity that students have shown in creating almost one million mazes!
We racked our brains at Kodable HQ trying to decide how we could show the world some of your awesome creations, and today we are launching the first annual Maze Maker Challenge! Starting today, kids all over the world will be able to create mazes that have a chance to be permanently included in Kodable!
How it works:
Build (March 5th – March 30th)
Starting today, teachers can join the Maze Maker Challenge directly from their Kodable Dashboard. Once they join, all Mazes created until March 30th, 2018 will be eligible to participate in the challenge.
Vote (April 2nd – April 15th)
On April 2nd, the Kodable Team will select 20 maze design finalists and release them in the Kodable Game. Students will have two weeks to play and “heart” up to 5 favorite mazes to vote for them
Win! (April 16th)
We will calculate the votes and announce the winners! The 20 mazes will continue to be available until the end of May, and the 5 most a-maze-ing mazes will be eligible to be permanently included as levels in Kodable!
Creative challenges allow students to express themselves and engage with new subject matter in a whole new way. Creative projects also help you, the teacher, understand how well students can apply information. Students can now customize, create, and solve their own mazes to challenge themselves and the class!
Build a maze and get creative with friends.
Apply knowledge of coding concepts learned along the Kodable journey.
Share creations with the class. Give love to your favorite mazes!
Modify mazes from your classmates.
Return after more experience and exposure to see what new coding concepts have been unlocked.
5 Kodable Maze Maker Mini-Challenges
Have students draw out and plan their mazes on paper before rolling through the online Maze Maker. Make sure if students are using conditions to write their “if-then rules” for getting through their maze.
Students can practice writing instructions or “rules” to their maze so others will know what to look for.
Tie-in math by counting how many squares were used in specific parts of the code or exploring and drawing shapes.
Create & design a maze with a partner. Switch devices to solve (and save!) the unique mazes. Have students make and solve at home!
Allow each student to write a review of another student’s maze, then modify it to make a second iteration.
Every Back to School season is exciting for us but this year, the momentum is unmistakable. Computer Science education in our schools is progressing and in the past year, we’ve seen the data to back up the commitment.
As more states begin mandating CS education, everyone is getting prepared for the rollout of CS in their districts and schools. We’re encouraged by so many teachers diving in, whether it’s to catch up or get ahead!
Now, it’s easy for you to join others in the computer science education movement. Our goal is to document the 2017-2018 school year while educators around the country make a difference in their classrooms, schools and communities. Join us for the Year of Code, and challenge yourself to make a change in your classroom.
Start with a goal
You don’t need to have a perfectly structured plan to get started! If your state, district, or school hasn’t set a plan in place for the upcoming school year, you can still join the thousands of teachers bringing CS education to the classroom.
I will teach CS beyond the Hour of Code week by doing coding (x) times a (week, month, semester).
I will plan/host a family coding night to get families involved in CS education initiatives at our school.
I will teach a (4, 6, 8 week) coding unit, teaching CS lessons every (Friday).
Setting measurable goals will help you track your challenges and successes so you can learn for next year’s implementation.
Join Kodable’s “Year of Code” Challenge!
It’s easy! All you have to do is commit to participatingin CS education this year.
Throughout the year we’ll randomly select classes to check in on. If you’re selected and are still on track, you’ll win awesome prizes for you class!
1. Set a measurable goal (see above!)
Need to brainstorm? We’ve got you! Record your thoughts and ideas on our Goal Template.
2. Share your goal with us!
Submit your goal through this short form for a chance to win great prizes like a swag bag, pizza party, ice cream party or one of many other great prizes!
Measure your progress and success
Check back in with your goal and monitor your progress. Things aren’t working out as planned? Revise your goal and adapt!
Share your challenges and successes!
We want to hear about it all! Send photos and updates throughout the year to firstname.lastname@example.org or share and tag us on Facebook (don’t forget to like our page!). You can find us on Twitter and Instagram as @kodable.
We’re as excited as this adorable corgi is see your goals for the 2017-2018 school year 😀
Whether you’re new to Kodable or returning for another year of coding in your classroom, Brie Gray is here to help you have a successful launch! Brie walks you through setting up your classes, teaching your first lesson, assigning content to your students, as well as recapping some improvements we made over the past year.
3 Back to School Lesson Plans
The wise and wonderful Brie Gray prepared three lesson plans specifically for introducing your students to your classroom and to prepare them for your management style.
Parents are an important part of your classroom culture. Help them understand what their child is learning and why it is important!
Send home a letter that tells them all about how you’ll be teaching their child to code. Edit it however you like! Letter to Parents ->
Let your students continue learning at home. You can print instructions for them to access Kodable at home. Parent Instructions ->
When students master a concept, share the celebration with their biggest cheerleaders! Send home a snazzy certificate. Just go to the current unit you’re teaching and click Print Student Certificates ->