Kodable iOS Update FAQ

Kodable iOS Update FAQ

If you recently updated Kodable on your iPad, you might have noticed that Kodable looks…a little…different. You’re right!

We have spent the last month improving our iOS version of Kodable, and are now happy to present to you the latest changes to Kodable on the iPad. If you haven’t seen these improvements, be sure to update to the latest version of Kodable on your iPad. You may have a few questions after seeing our latest update, so we have put together a short FAQ below to help you get acclimated to the new version of Kodable. 🙂

Frequently Asked Questions

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Why did you change the menu?

Kodable is a modular, comprehensive curriculum, and we wanted our game interface to reflect that. Now, you can seamlessly transition from concept learning guides, to screen-free activities, to in-game lessons, to vocabulary workshops.

How does this new menu teach programming?

Each programming concept we teach is separated into units. Units are now scaffolded into multiple easy-to-digest lesson collections in Kodable. We have seen this boosts learning outcomes and saves teachers time in lesson planning.

Concepts in Kodable

How do I navigate the new menu screen? 

The new menu screen is ordered by concept and each concept is indicated with it’s assigned command in Kodable. An arrow indicates Sequence, a colored tile Conditions, rotating arrows Loops, and brackets symbolize Functions.

Did I lose my student’s progress?

No! All of your student’s progress has been saved, but the order of some of our lessons has been changed slightly. To help with this transition, we’ve included this ‘lesson migration reference’.

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How does this work with the new dashboard?

The curriculum tab on your dashboard now directly matches what students will see on their devices. Each concept in your curriculum tab matches a ‘section’ of the Kodable world. Each unit inside that concept is matched with a collection of lessons in that concept. As students complete lessons, you will see their progress reflected on your class dashboard. You can also be confident that the lessons in the game will directly correlate with the activities, learning guides, and vocabulary lessons we provide for that unit.

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The names in the game don’t match the names on my dashboard!

We’ve found that kids don’t always get excited for games with titles like ‘Sequence Unit 1,’ So we’ve included fun, exciting names for kids that will boost engagement. You can always see the name of the unit that kids will be attempting by going to the curriculum tab and expanding the corresponding unit.

Parent Teacher Portal No Longer Available

Where is the parent teacher portal? 

Due to transitioning to the new Teacher Dashboard, we have temporarily removed the Parent Teacher Portal from the iOS version of Kodable. Let us know what your thoughts are on the PTP by emailing neal@kodable.com

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Where is Bugs Below? 

Bugs Below and debugging concepts are now contained within Sequence, Conditions, Loops, and Functions concepts. After careful consideration, we believe young students should begin developing debugging skills and start practicing these techniques with every concept.

More Questions? 

If you have any further questions about our new iOS version, feel free to comment on this post or reach out and contact us below. 🙂

 

#KodableRoadTour: Show Everyone Your Programming Skills

Kodable Road Tour Swag

The #KodableRoadTour is moving at lightning speed! We have already visited over 20 schools in 10 states, and we don’t plan on slowing down. 🙂

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Were you a stop on the #KodableRoadTour and want to show off your programming skills? Or do you just love Kodable and want to support the future of children’s programming? Get some #KodableRoadTour Swag!

Kodable Road Trip T-Shirts

Be sure to also check out our daily blog posts from all of our stops to learn more about our adventures, as well as what other classrooms are doing with coding around the country.

 

Kodable Road Tour: Day 5

Today, the Kodable Tour stopped in Greater New York, where we visited two awesome schools that shared with us all the progress they have made in their coding curriculum. Oh yea..and they helped us learn a few things as well. 🙂

First Stop: Highland Falls Intermediate School

What we learned: bugs happen; it’s okay to talk about them.

We used the web version of Kodable during our first session with Kristen Magyar, and discovered an issue with the way the cursor was appearing on their desktop computers. The graphics cards were having issues rending the cursor correctly and there was a bit of a lag. Naturally, the kids clicked furiously in an effort to get the mouse working correctly.

This was a great moment to have a discussion about bugs, why they happen, and how we can react to them. After talking about the bug, students showed great patience and everything worked well. We were fortunate to have a few iPads available as a back up for the students who didn’t want to continue with the issue.

When the second group came in, we talked about the bug with them before they got started. This made things work much smoother and they showed great patience while working with the issue.

Take awayIf you discover a bug, talk with students about it. Turn what could be a stressful situation in to a learning opportunity. You can model patience and good trouble shooting behavior for the students, as well as discuss it with students to prevent impatience before it starts.

Favorite Moment: I had a great conversation with the 5th graders at Highland Falls Intermediate School about creating an app, how to get started, and some other technical questions.

It was a lot of fun to discuss this with them, and see their eagerness and excitement at the idea of creating technology for others to use.

The future: Kristen Magyar and the team at Highland Falls are moving more into coding next year. She already has students thinking about vocabulary with words like “loops” and their definitions written all around her lab. The principal is very supportive as the technology team begins increasing the amount of coding done at Highland Falls.

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After a quick lunch, we scooted over to Lakeland schools to visit Linda Brandon.

Second Stop: Benjamin Franklin Elementary

What we learned: Smooth Transitions – brought to you by explanations.

When you go in to someone’s classroom it is a lot like visiting someone’s home. I feel a bit like I’m imposing, and want to be polite and do things “their” way. This always stopped me from being decisive about how to transition from a lesson to iPad time. Every class has their own way of handing out the iPads and giving sign on instructions. However, it usually ends up getting a bit chaotic if I don’t review how to get signed on to Kodable with the students.

On this trip, I’ve learned I can ask a few review questions before saying the magical word (iPad) that sends everyone in to frenzy and make the lesson-to-iPad transition go easily. They’re listed below, and work like a charm!

What app will we be using? (Kodable)

What does the icon look like? (Yellow with a blue fuzz)

What do we do when Kodable opens? (Press play)

Do we press play if we don’t see our name on the play button? (No)

How do we switch? (Press the button with people on it “Switch Profiles”)

What do we press next? (Our class name)

What do we press when we see the list of names? (Our name)

Favorite moment: It’s always fun to see how much students learn in a small amount of time during our coding sessions, but to people who haven’t seen the power of coding with a live class of students it can really have an impact. There were a lot of visitors in our session at Benjamin Franklin. People from all over the district were there to learn and watch our session. I loved seeing the recognition of how much learning was happening when “playing” coding.

Thanks to Linda for creating this awesome Animoto!

The future: Everyone in the Lakeland school district is interested in coding. It was wonderful to see so much support coming from district administrators. People came from a variety of schools and positions to watch our sessions, and were eager to learn more about implementing coding.

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What a day! Keep reading to learn more about our adventures on Day 6. 🙂

Kodable Road Tour: Day 4

Wow, what a day! Day 4 is in the books for the Kodable Road Tour, and our sessions just keep getting better and better. On this particular day of our programming journey, we arrived in Queens, New York, where we had tons of coding fun with our good friends at the Solomon Schechter School of Queens. 

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What we learned: When choosing a robot for fuzzFamily frenzy…choose wisely! 

One of the unplugged activities that we have had great success with over the course of the Kodable Road Tour thus far is fuzzFamily Frenzy. This activity is a great starter activity for any grade level that is beginning to learn to code, and can be differentiated in a number of different ways to accommodate the skill levels of the students. We have covered sequence, functions, and everything in between in fuzzFamily frenzy so far on our tour, and the students have responded really well.

Students at the Solomon Schechter School were particularly impressed with fuzzFamily Frenzy, and the amazing Rebecca Simon helped us even further differentiate the activity for the benefit of the students. Often Grechen and I are the volunteer robots, but this time around Rebecca arranged for some of the more vocal and outspoken students in her class to serve as the robots in our activity. We found that this worked particularly well because even after the activity ended, these students could be reminded that they had been “coded” in a certain way, and that they had to live up to the expectations of their program. 🙂

This also led to a number of interesting variations of our robot program, including lots of jumping, dancing, and fist pumps.

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Plans for the future: This is only the beginning…

Solomon plans to continue with more unplugged activities, and was thrilled to hear about the new Kodable Curriculum. Rebecca is always looking for more ideas and has done an awesome job at getting more teachers at her school on-board and started coding. Be sure to follow her at @Edtechmorah to learn more about the neat stuff she is doing with coding at her school and share ideas.

Favorite Moment: What to do when the WiFi is not working?

We often talk about our greatest fear when in the classroom…and that is what to do when the WiFi is not working. For a slight moment in our visit…this fear struct all of us. However, not to worry…because we had plenty to do in the meantime! When the WiFi wasn’t working we quickly moved to unplugged, shared devices, and completed Kodable lessons together. Just because a problem comes up doesn’t mean that there is any reason to panic, and this experience clearly demonstrated this. Instead, it gave us a great opportunity to pair program, answer questions, and work together on a number of programming challenges.

The Kodable Road Tour is flying by! Join in on the fun by following our daily updates…and support the cause by buying an AWESOME Kodable T-Shirt. 🙂

Kodable Road Trip T-Shirts

Kodable Road Trip: Day 2

The Kodable Road Tour

Today, the #KodableRoadTrip took us to Wilmington, DE and Newtown Square, PA, where we got a chance to visit with some awesome teachers and students preparing to take programming to the next level!

First Stop: Tatnall School

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What we learned: It’s never too early to start learning loops 

When we first began our lesson with Tatnall’s 3rd graders, we expected to cover the basics of sequence, debugging, and review/practice the specificity needed to create a detailed and effective computer program. However, once we were 5 minutes into our lesson, we realized that our 3rd graders needed more of a challenge, and were ready to take on more advanced programming concepts. Our fuzzFamily frenzy screen-free activity soon transformed into a loopy lesson, and students began explaining/demonstrating when to use a loop, how to create one, and why they are important for programmers. In the startup world, it is always important to know when to pivot when working on your product, and the same can be true in the classroom when teaching a programming lesson as well!

What’s happening in the future 

Colleen Hoban spoke with us at length about her amazing and ambitious plans to organize a Parent Tech Night for Tatnall School. Once the school completes a few wifi fixes, she plans to get started and is looking for more ideas. We did our best to offer our advice, but we would like to hear from more educators as well! Please send some tips to Colleen via Twitter @ColleenHoban.

Favorite/Most Memorable Moment: “What is binary?”

We all had a good laugh when Grechen began “reviewing” with Tatnall’s 1st graders the basics of binary. After a few confused looks, our 1st graders quickly reminded us that we had never spoken to them about binary. Grechen was a little reluctant to admit her senior moment, but I believe that one of the basic tenets as an Elementary School teacher is that 1st graders are a little like elephants, they never forget.

Moral of the story: Never question 1st graders memory.

Second Stop: Episcopal Academy

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What we learned: The importance of smooth transitions 🙂 

Our 1st grade students at Episcopal were immediately ready for a challenge once we walked through the door, and we quickly dove into the basics of functions (I know! Amazing, right?!),  even writing a detailed program in pseudocode. After 3 students successfully acted out our program as a robot, we jumped into trying a few functions lessons in Kodable. While there were many students that made this transition seamlessly, as we walked around the room, we realized that there were a few students that could have used a few more examples or some extra help. With the help and experience of the wonderful Maggie Powers (@mpowers3), we were able to help these students along and completed a very successful coding session.

Take away point: Never be afraid to walk through lessons together in Kodable after an unplugged activity. It can only help, and ensure that students have a firm grasp of a new programming concept.

Favorite/Most Memorable Moment: “Mr. Neal, is Kodable supposed to work this way?”

My favorite moment at Episcopal Academy came when a student asked me to come take a look at a problem he was having in Kodable. Now, to provide a little background, when we rigorously test Kodable in our office, many times we do not have enough time or the resources on hand to put an update through the 6-8 finger test. The 6-8 finger test generally comes into play when 3 or 4 students get so excited about Kodable, they all tap the screen at the same time, resulting in some interesting behavior. Our young student managed to find an interesting bug putting Kodable through the 6-8 finger test, and we had a great talk about how sometimes there is not just a bug when playing Kodable, but there are actual real-life bugs in the game itself. He seemed to have stumbled upon the latter, and we provided him with a sticker for being an awesome beta tester.

Memorable Moment Part 2: “Let me explain to you the details of game animation…and python” 

Sometimes, I am just amazed at what students already know. Case in point, an Episcopal Academy student explained to us the details of game animation, articulating exactly how it works, while another suggested that Python would be a great programming language to work. After moments like these, I often have to remind myself who the one is giving the presentation and who is the first grader.

Day 2 is in the books! Don’t forget to support and join in on the fun for the Kodable Road Tour and order a #KodableRoadTour T-Shirt!

Kodable Road Trip T-Shirts

 

Kodable Road Tour: Day 1

The Kodable Road Tour

Today, we kicked off the first leg of our Kodable Road Tour in Maryland and got off to an AWESOME start!

After beginning our journey eastward on Sunday at 4am local time in San Francisco…

Kodable Road Tour San Francisco
Those are some sleepy faces!

…we arrived in Baltimore ready to rock and roll. It was time to begin teaching some programming!

First Stop

The Boys’ Latin School of Maryland where we talked about loops and binary – and just how many planets the fuzzes should definitely visit!

Lots of collaboration with pair programming!

What we learned: The versatility of going screen free
I’ve always loved the Fuzz Family Frenzy, because it’s simple to explain and a LOT of fun. However, today it was even better. We took the activity a step further and created our own commands as a class to define exactly how many degrees our robot (Neal Rooney) should turn and how high it should jump.

We also talked about how the code gets redundant when you have to repeat “left foot, right foot”. That spurred a great lesson about how loops work and how they’re key to more efficient coding. I’ll definitely be adding that lesson to my tool belt. 🙂

Fuzz Family Frenzy using loops
Here you can see some of our code using loops. (and instructions to jump 2 feet!)

What’s happening in the future: Debi Krulak (@MrsKatBL) plans to integrate coding into more lesson plans as the lower school media specialist. She says knowing where everyone is at with in Kodable helps to know when to stop and spend more time talking about a concept. She had a great idea to use screen free activities as a way to asses how well students are able to apply the lessons they learn in another scenario.

Favorite moment: A comical and adorable conversation about how computers can’t understand sarcasm.

Next, we headed down to Annapolis for our second stop of the day!

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Second Stop

St. Martin’s In-The-Field Episcopal School, where we learned about the great Grace Hopper and that testing our code can prevent bugs.

Team debugging!
A deep discussion involving bugs and testing.

What we learned: Kids understand much more than we think they do

Neal and I talked to a group of first and second graders and then a group of third and fourth graders. It was interesting to see the older students grasp the concepts of sequential thinking and giving a computer commands really quickly.

The extra time gave us the opportunity to try something new and talk about concepts like variables and functions. We presented the new ideas in a simple and easy to digest way: modifying the class’s original Fuzz Family Frenzy code. We added specifics like degrees of a turn, length of our steps, an height of our jumps. We also discussed how that program could be assigned as a function and used again later by calling on the name we gave it.

We had a lot of fun with these brilliant first graders!

What’s happening in the future: Karen White and other teachers at her school are starting an iLab! She’s a firm believer in the power of playing to learn and wants her students to get their hands dirty working with a variety of new technologies.

Favorite moment: Seeing the power of Kodable as a break from testing, and getting to be the run-away robot when we had a bug in our Fuzz Family Frenzy code.

BONUS: We enjoyed a bit of down time at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. Wow! It definitely made me a proud American.

Grechen
Boat selfie 😀
Neal
Look! More boats!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One day down and another to go! Thank you to both schools for your kindness and hospitality. We’re loving every minute so far and we can’t wait to see more schools!

Also, don’t forget to join the fun and support the Kodable Road Tour! Check out the neat T-Shirts we created just for the trip!

Kodable Road Trip T-Shirts

 

#KidsCanCode Chat: Creating a Coding Workshop

Creating a Coding Workshop

Organizing a programming workshop may be exactly what you need to get your school excited about programming. In this week’s chat, we talk about what works best, and how to structure your very own coding workshop.

Chat Questions:

Q1: What are the benefits of student/educator/parent coding workshops?

Q2: What types of coding workshops have you organized or attended in the past?

Q3 PART A: What did you like best about these workshops?

Q3 PART B: What could have been done differently, or where could these workshops improve?

Q4 PART A: What activities work best for a student coding workshop?

Q4 PART B: What content should be covered in a coding workshop for educators?

Q5: How do you organize/structure a workshop to help build excitement around programming?

Join us Tuesdays at 8pm EST on Twitter for #KidsCanCode Programming Education Chat

#KidsCanCode Chat: Coding and Problem Solving

Coding and Problem Solving
When students learn to code, they also learn how to problem solve. In this edition of #KidsCanCode Education Chat, we discuss the importance of practicing problem solving through coding.

Chat Questions

Q1: What skills do Ss develop learning to code?

Q2: How does CS and learning to code teach Ss problem solving?

Q3: SHARE: A coding activity that challenged your Ss to use problem-solving skills.

Q4: Which coding concepts place the greatest demand on Ss problem solving ability?

Q5: How do you encourage Ss to use skills/concepts learned & practiced in CS in other subjects?

Q6: SHARE: A proud moment when your Ss demonstrated excellent problem solving skills learned through coding.

Q7: AGREE or DISAGREE: Learning to code prepares Ss for real life situations regardless of whether or not they become a programmer.

Join us every Tuesday at 8pm EST for #KidsCanCode Chat! 

The Kodable Programming Curriculum is LIVE!

It’s been awhile in the making, but we are proud to announce that the new Kodable Curriculum is now LIVE and can be accessed right from your Kodable Teacher Dashboard! To explore these exciting new changes simply:

1. Visit Kodable.com

2. Login to your Teacher Account in the top right hand corner:

3. And voilà! Welcome to your new Kodable Programming Curriculum!

Kodable Programming Curriculum Dashboard

What’s included in the new Kodable Programming Curriculum?

Thousands of educators have been teaching their students basic programming concepts with Kodable for over a year. The focus of the new Kodable Programming Curriculum is to make teaching these coding concepts even easier.

Organized by concept, the new Kodable Programming Curriculum is a step-by-step guide to teaching your students the basics of programming.

Teaching Programming by Concept

Kodable Programming Curriculum: Sequence

The Kodable Programming Curriculum covers the most important programming concepts for beginners:

  • Sequence
  • Conditions
  • Loops
  • Functions
  • Variables (Coming Soon!)

Teaching programming concepts can often be intimidating, and sometimes it is difficult to know where to start.

Don’t worry! 

In the new Kodable Programming Curriculum we divide each programming concept into digestible and time efficient units. These units are also chock-full of teaching resources to help you along the way:

  • Concept Learning Guides
  • Unplugged Activities
  • Kodable Lessons
  • Lesson Answer Keys
  • Concept Vocabulary

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Brand New Programming Lessons

To supplement the new Kodable Programming Curriculum we have also added brand new Kodable lessons for the following programming concepts:

  • Sequence
  • Algorithms
  • Debugging

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More coming soon!

Over the course of the next few months, we will be adding resources and making improvements to the curriculum. So keep an eye out for future updates!

Kodable Web

#KidsCanCode Chat: Transitioning to Written Code

Transitioning to Written Code

When should I start teaching my students programming language syntax? How do I transition from programming concepts to written code? We chat about all this and more in this week’s chat!

Chat Questions

Q1: Do you teach your students a written programming language?

Q2 PART A: What is the right time to start teaching Ss a written programming language?

Q2 PART B: What are the best exercises for getting Ss started learning a written programming language?

Q3: What is the best programming language for a young learner to start with?

Q4: AGREE or DISAGREE: For young Ss, learning to think like a programmer is more important than learning a written programming language.

Q5: How do I teach a written programming language if I don’t understand the syntax myself?

Join us Tuesdays at 8pm EST for #KidsCanCode Education Chat!