How to Join the Hour Of Code with Kodable

Join the Hour of Code with Kodable

The Hour of Code is almost here, and guess what?! You can learn the basics of programming with Kodable!

Follow these 5 simple steps to get your students started coding with Kodable!

Join the Hour of Code with Kodable

1. Download Kodable for FREE in the App Store

Download Kodable in the App Store

2. Watch Our Hour of Code Playlist

3. Play an unplugged activity

Introduce your students to coding basics with our fuzzFamily Frenzy unplugged activity!

Use fuzzFamilyfrenzy to help students connect programming to the real-world

4. Track student progress

If you would like to track student progress or share iPads, sign up for a FREE Kodable Teacher Account to manage your class.

Sign Up for a Free Teacher Account

5. Learn to code and have fun!

If this is your first time coding with your students, don’t let it be the last!

Make sure to have fun with your coding curriculum

Looking for more Hour Of Code? Check out our Hour of Code with Kodable page 🙂

#KidsCanCode Chat: Starting a Coding Club

Starting a Coding Club

This week, with the help of @JennRegruth, we discussed how to start a coding club! We covered what resources and materials to use, how to use student feedback to plan activities, and our favorite projects!

Join us each week for #KidsCanCode Chat at 8pm EST!

#KidsCanCode Chat: How Can I Integrate Coding with Math?

We need to change the way we teach math to include computer science and coding
In this week’s edition of #KidsCanCode chat, we discussed the ways that we can integrate coding with math! We covered what math concepts overlap with computer science, shared our favorite programming/math combo projects, and gave our best suggestions to others based on what we have learned from our own experiences.
Join Us EVERY Tuesday at 8pm EST for #KidsCanCode Chat!! 

#KidsCanCode Chat: Learning to Code Alongside My Students

Learning to Code with your students
We are teaching our students to code, but how can we simultaneously pick up some programming knowledge ourselves? This week, we discussed the best ways to learn the coding concepts we are teaching, both inside and outside the classroom.
Join us every Tuesday at 8pm EST for #KidsCanCode Chat!

6 Step Guide to Catching that Back to School Spirit

School is BACK!  Are you ready?  Let’s go ahead and get you fit for your first day so you can get back to school and start the year off right!

Let's get down to business

1. Wake up early, grab a coffee, and get a head start.

Wake up early for the first day

Because we know all too well that this is going to get more difficult…

Get to school early now because it may not always last

2. Fall back in love with your classroom.

I love my classroom!

And everything in it…

Back to school sounds

Including your students!

meet your new students

3. Flaunt your new technology.

We have technology now

Jealous of classroom accessories

(Books are so last century)

Tech teachers don't need all these books

4. Put those amazing lesson plans you spent all summer on into action.

All that work you did over the summer counts now!

Aligning your curriculum to the common core is always a struggle

(Still too soon…we will return to that joke later in the year.)

We can come back to that joke later

5. Get back in your school year routine.

Get used to never being caught up

Don't be afraid to reach out for support

6. But don’t forget to lean on your friends…

We are all in this together!

 And don’t worry…

Don't worry be happy

Because this year is going to be AWESOME!

This year is going to be awesome

How I Taught Myself to Code: Avoiding the Cliff

The language you first choose does not matter

In the first part of this series I told you about my introduction into the world of programming.  Now, I will give you a step-by-step account of exactly what I did to learn!

Where Do I Start?You can start learning with CSS, but it is not programming in the strictest sense

The first thing I did was tackle HTML and CSS.  I want to be very clear on this point, this is NOT programming.  Coding is a mindset, you need to be able to problem solve and think logically.  There is very little (if any) of this with HTML and CSS.  Now, that is not to say these aren’t valuable skills to have, but don’t fall into the trap of “learning to code” by writing some basic HTML.  Some experienced programmers may roll their eyes at you and tell you that you’ve still got a long way to go.

Choosing A Language

With the exception of HTML and CSS, the language you choose to learn doesn’t matter!  I spent more time learning what a “for” loop was when I first started programming than I did learning Ruby after I had 2 years of experience under my belt.

The most important thing with programming is to start making progress and begin learning.

The language you first choose does not matterOne of the biggest mistakes I see in people trying to teach themselves programming is that they get too caught up in which language they want to learn. Don’t do that. Trust me, it doesn’t matter. To make sure you don’t fall into this trap, I’m going to tell you exactly what to do.

Picking a Project

First, find out what kind of applications you want to build. If you have a PC and want to make Windows applications, learn C#. If you have a Mac, learn Python. If you want to make web apps, Ruby is a good choice, but you can also use Python. If all else fails, learn Python. It’s an excellent language that teaches you how to structure programs correctly and just generally program the “right” way.

Finding the Right Tools JavaScript the good parts is a great programming book I used

Once I had been working with HTML/CSS for a bit, I inevitably found JavaScript.  JavaScript is the programming language of the browser.  Most modern websites use some form of Javascript framework (usually jQuery) to handle a lot of the behaviors you see in your browser window.  I did a few quick Google searches and quickly found out about Eloquent JavaScript.  It is an excellent book, and best of all completely free online!

Looking back, JavaScript probably wasn’t the best choice for a first language. Most experienced programmers will tell you that JavaScript has a lot of unnecessary complexity. Which is why a book exists called “JavaScript: The Good Parts.” While it was good for learning basic programming concepts like variables and loops, I didn’t really get a good understanding of Object-Oriented Programming.

Avoiding the Cliff

Choose the right books so that they do not drop you off a cliffI consider my first real “language” to be C#, a C-based language developed by Microsoft used in a vast number of Windows applications and websites.  The best thing that ever happened in my journey to learn programming was finding a book called Head First C#.  Most programming books start with helpful, guided tutorials in chapter 1, and then drop you off a cliff and expect you to just know everything. The Head First series makes it a point to do the opposite.  They make it a point to translate programming concepts into something that “normal” people can understand, and deliberately avoid the aforementioned “cliff” problem.  I can’t say enough good things about these books, they’re simply awesome.

Setting Achievable Goals

It took me about 3-4 months of on-and-off study to get through enough of Head First C# to feel confident enough to start making my own changes to our web app.  I think the reason I was really able to make progress with C# as opposed to JavaScript is that I had a definite goal in mind. I had something I wanted to build.

Painters never sit down and decide to paint, they always have an idea of what they want to paint when they get started.  Programming is the same way.  As a full-time programmer, I never sit down in front a computer and just say “I’m gonna program!”  They have a goal in mind, something they want to accomplish. You should always endeavor to do the same.

Becoming a Pro

I started learning C# my senior year of college, and spent about 8 months with it before I graduated.  As graduation came closer, I was trying to find a job.  This was at the height of the recession, and there just weren’t that many opportunities out there, especially for people with marketing degrees.  Lucky for me, I had spent the past year honing my coding skills! Keep calm, study, and become a programmer

At the end of my final semester, I found a programming job listed on my school’s job listing board, and I felt confident enough in my programming ability to apply.  They sent me a test before I came in for a face-to-face interview.  However, there was only one problem– it was to make a website in PHP…I had never used PHP before! Well, time to go back to the Head First series! I got the test on a Friday, and my interview was on a Monday.  I purchased Head First PHP & MySQL (MySQL is a database commonly used with PHP) and went to work.  All of the knowledge I had gained of Javascript, C#, and even HTML and CSS helped me pick up PHP at a surprising pace.  I finished the website late Sunday night, just in time to get a few hours of sleep before my interview in the morning.

I went in for my interview with a newfound confidence in my programming abilities.  I was able to breeze through the questions they asked, and got an offer later that day.  I had successfully taught myself enough programming to get a job as a full-time, professional software developer. Mission accomplished!

Now that you’ve heard about my journey to become a full-time programmer, in Part 3 of this series, I will give you a set of rules, tips, and tricks that I’ve picked up along the way. Hopefully they’ll be as helpful for you as they have been for me.

Read Part 3: Cures for the Common Code

#KidsCanCode Chat: Debugging My Coding Lesson Plan

KidsCanCode: Debugging my coding lesson plan
What did we talk about in this week’s #KidsCanCode chat? Well, we discussed our greatest success/failures from last year’s coding lesson plans, outlined what we learned, and set goals for the changes we plan on making going into the new school year! 🙂

How I Taught Myself to Code: Hello World!

I had to use keyboard commands like a dinosaur

There are so many resources out there for learning to code these days that it can be next to impossible to know where to start.  As the sole programmer for Kodable (for now – we’re hiring!), I am completely self-taught.  I have never taken a formal programming class in my entire life.

In less than 4 years, I taught myself everything I needed to know to build an app that is currently used by over a million kids around the world.

In this 3-part series, I will share with you my journey from learning to code at 6 to founding Kodable. Hopefully this will inspire your own programming journey!

Back In the Dinosaur Age

My first initial exposure to programming was when I was only 6 years old. I learned programming on this ancient Toshiba computerMy computer was an old Toshiba that looked exactly like this   Remember those days?  Truthfully, I was always in trouble as a child.  If you don’t believe me, ask my parents, but be sure to put aside a few hours.  Anyways, I was always grounded, and my parents would let me play on this ancient computer because they refused to believe that I could have any fun on it.

The battery didn’t work, so I could only use it plugged in, and it didn’t even have a mouse! I had to use keyboard shortcuts like some kind of caveman or dinosaur!

I had to use keyboard commands like a dinosaur Eventually, I started tinkering with the system and ended up finding the BASIC compiler in MS-DOS.  After playing with it for a bit I ended up having my parents take me to Barnes and Noble to buy a few programming books.  This led to the creation of my first program, which was a password program that would start when you booted up the computer.  If the user entered the password correctly, the program would let you access the computer.  But if the user inputed the wrong password, it would say, “You’re an idiot! Try again.”  Like I said, I was always causing trouble as a kid.

After this, I continued tinkering for a few months and even tried to tackle C++, but that turned out to be a bit too intimidating for me at the time, and I ended up losing interest.  I didn’t program again until halfway through college 15 years later.

Learning to Code (Again)

Learning programming on basic as a young studentEven though I wasn’t writing code, the way I had learned to think like a programmer stayed with me.  In school, I would constantly find myself analyzing problems using programmer logic.  For example, I would often look at things in terms of if-then-else statements: If this happens, I will do X, otherwise I will do Y.  This ability was invaluable as I made my way through high school, college, and especially when I began to teach myself programming.

As a student at the University of Louisville in the Entrepreneurship program, I knew I wanted to start my own business.  I also knew that I wanted to do something in technology, but it quickly became apparent to me that I couldn’t do this without some sort of technical ability.

At the time, it was too late to change my major, and I also didn’t want to rely on someone else to build my dream for me.

I decided to teach myself programming (again)So halfway through college, I decided to teach myself programming (again).

In Part 2 of this series, I will detail exactly how I carved my path through the maze of programming materials available, and hopefully give you some friendly advice and direction for your own journey as well!

Read Part 2: Avoiding the Cliff

#KidsCanCode News: Students & STEM

Join us for KidsCanCode every Tuesday

After a bad perm that left her with thinning hair at the age of 11, Jasmine created her own successful line of all-natural hair products, and has discovered a love of computer science and robotics.  (via Huffington Post)

There are many obstacles facing students and teachers striving for programming education.  Read how these students and teachers are refusing to wait for systematic changes, and are moving towards grassroots development.  (via San Jose Mercury News)

As computer science becomes more available and prevalent to students, both kids and their parents are seeing programming as a beneficial skill and talent, as well as an excellent career option.  (via Los Angeles Times)

After participating in the Engineering Fair, Amber Barron realized that the best way for her to help her fellow students through the same process was to develop her own curriculum.  (via Huffington Post & KUTV2 News)

Ever wonder how Lean Startup methods can be applied to education?  Steve Blank outlines how this is not only possible, but necessary.  (via Huffington Post)

Lean Startup and Education

Want More #KidsCanCode?

Join us Tuesdays at 8pm EST for our weekly #KidsCanCode Twitter Chat!

 

Enroll in a Kodable Education Plan

Kodable: Programming Basics for Kids 5+

Here at Kodable HQ, we enjoy the occasional complexities in life, but we mostly prefer to keep things simple.  Sound familiar? 🙂  

After a year of talking with teachers using Kodable in their classrooms, we discovered that we needed to rework our approach to coding education, and fashion a programming curriculum that is equally as beneficial for students, but easier for teachers to manage.

Well, we ran back to the lab, performed some tests, and created plans to meet the needs of educators using Kodable!  Kodable Education Plans are available in every version of Kodable, and provide teachers with the proper tools to better serve their students and adequately manage programming curriculums in their school.  We have created plans to help you use Kodable with your students at your comfort level: Free Kodable Teacher, Kodable Class, and Kodable School.


Kodable Teacher Accounts


Make the Most of your Programming Curriculum with Personalized Lesson Plans:

Kodable Teacher Accounts are free and enable you to easily monitor and cater to an individual student’s needs, allowing for a more effective classroom coding experience.  You can create a Kodable Teacher Account within Kodable or here!  Then just log in on the app to begin using these educational features:

Add students to classes with Kodable

Organize students in classes, and manage student profiles from within the app or on kodable.com.


Introducing Kodable Class


Enroll in a Kodable Education Plan


Organize a Complete Programming Curriculum with Kodable Class

Kodable Class is an app designed specifically for education use, and makes it easier than ever to introduce the basics of programming to your students.  If you previously purchased Kodable Pro, you can be grandfathered into the new Kodable Class plan when you update to version 5.0.


Develop Comprehensive Lesson Plans with Kodable Class Regardless of Your Programming Experience:

Taking the first step towards programming education can be intimidating, especially if you have limited or no programming experience. Kodable Class can help alleviate these fears, providing subscribers with complete access to all of Kodable’s Learning Guides.

Consult the Kodable Learning Guides for:

An Explanation of Kodable’s Basic Coding Concepts •  Recommended Classroom Activities •  Answer Keys to Every Level


 “I am an Administrator or Technology Instructor, and I want to bring Kodable Class to all of my students”

 Instituting a school-wide programming curriculum? Kodable School Accounts are designed with the unique needs of a school or district in mind.

Kodable Class is designed specifically for teachers and students

Kodable School includes all of the benefits of Kodable Class, as well as upgrades for larger curriculums:

Unlimited Student and Class Profiles • Professional Development from the Kodable Team • Administrator Accessibility – Grant permissions to those who need it at different levels within your school or district (Coming Soon)

Kodable School provides complete access for administrators


Learn More About Kodable Class

www.kodable.com/classrooms

Learn More About Kodable School

www.kodable.com/schools

Or Download the Free Version of Kodable

Download Kodable on the App Store