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. 🙂

 

Kodable Road Tour: Day 8

After a long drive from Chicago, we kicked off Day 8 in Minnesota (said in MN accent) ;P. Today, we visited 3 schools!! Wow, what a jam packed day…but so much to share!

Our First Stop: Deephaven Elementary

What we learned: Kodable works to perfection when you set up a class beforehand

Most times when we finish our screen-free activity and move to setting up students with iPads, there is a little confusion and it takes some time to get students set up. Not in Minnetonka! Thanks to Jeremy Engebretson (@JEngebretson75) and the amazing teachers at Deephaven, the students were already organized into a class on Kodable, and were very familiar with the login procedures. In less than 2 minutes, each student was playing Kodable and the workshop was moving along again.

Take away: Organize your students into a class to save time and the headache

Since each student was already in a class, they could easily sign in on their iPad and did not have to waste time searching for the correct iPad or creating an account. Each student was able to begin exactly where they left off, and were quickly engaged without any distraction. This made for a seamless transition, and minimized the amount of time students could disengage for the lesson. The time spent adding students to a class led to an enormous amount of time saved down the road during lessons. This makes a huge difference when you have a limited amount of programming time and every minute counts.

Memorable moment: Let’s test our code!

Throughout the course of the workshop we watched many students input a small amount of code and begin testing to see how far the fuzz would roll before they received an error message. This reminded us the importance of trying and testing our code, as well as not being afraid of failure. This is a concept that we want to try to stress in Kodable, as it is immensely important for programmers when they are writing a program or debugging.

What’s down the road?

Coding coordinators at Deephaven are making a coding curriculum/plan for each grade level. This past year has gone so well that they are planning on doing even more in the future, and making coding an even bigger part of their everyday curriculum.

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Our Second Stop: Glen Lake 

What we learned: Lessons can be applied at many ages

In Glen Lake we switched things up and completed a Kodable workshop with a class of 6th graders! Fresh off a morning of working with 1st graders, we were a little out of our element at first, but quickly hit our stride once we began talking with the students. This experience taught us that any programming concept can be adapted for older students, and can work quite well. We had great discussions surrounding programming, fielded a number of difficult questions, and also learned a lot while playing Kodable.

Memorable Moment: Complete a challenging level together and hearing the cheers as the fuzz attempted to roll through the maze each time

In this particular session, we decided to complete one of the most challenging levels of Kodable together, and see if we could encourage our students to program the fuzz through the maze using the most efficient code possible. This turned out to be an exhilarating experience as the fuzz almost made it through the maze a number of times, but not quite. Eventually we got it, and we were very happy that we chose to do a level together.

What’s next?

Colette Kastner’s student’s were very interested in how we got started and involved with Kodable, and the route we took to get there. Many of the students asked how they could begin to learn to code on their own, and we provided them with a number of resources such as our How I Taught Myself to Code series where they could find some things to get started. Looking forward to hearing how things continue to progress into the future. 🙂

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Our final stop: Groveland Elementary

What we learned: Explain thatlLoops are not just for adding more spaces

Many students when working on loops levels in Kodable simply like to use the looper to add more boxes so that they can complete their code. To avoid this, we spoke a lot to the students about identifying patterns in each of the technomazes in Kodable. When working with a student, I would always start off by asking them if they noticed any patterns in the maze in front of them. If they did, I would instruct them to then look at the number of boxes available in the command bin. If there did not seem to be that many boxes, then I loop would most likely need to be used.

Additionally, we also stressed utilizing iterations for each of the loop. Each loop should never be used just once, but should be used at least twice. When we showed many of the students the benefits of tapping on the looper and increasing the number of iterations, many abandoned the previous methods and started utilizing the loops in a more efficient manner.

Memorable Moment: Seeing the students learning and communicating in Spanish

While we were visiting Groveland, we were fortunate enough to visit one of their Spanish immersion classes, where…you guessed it…all of the students spoke Spanish! This was the first time that we had ever taught programming in another language, and we were a little intimidated at first. However, Grechen and I tried our best to use our limited Spanish language knowledge to fit in and help the students as much as possible.

 

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What a whirlwind of a day! Check in again to hear more about more of our adventures in Minnetonka tomorrow. 🙂

Kodable Road Trip: Day 3

The Kodable Road Tour

Neal and I kicked off day three bright and early in Maplewood, NJ, where we were enjoying some great New England spring time weather. 😀

First Stop: Clinton Elementary

Welcome to Clinton Library!
Welcome to Clinton Library!

What we learned: 

We did some advanced looping with the third grade coders of Clinton Elementary. The students we talked to all showed great interest in learning to code, so we decided to jump in to loops during the unplugged activity. After doing the unplugged version of loops, we projected Kodable on the SMART board, so everyone could see how loops work in the game. We solved a couple lessons together, and talked about how these loops are different from loops they’ve done in other programs. Once everyone said they felt comfortable, we handed out the iPads for them to try on their own and in groups.

Take away: Talking about how the loops worked differently, solving a few lessons together, and preparing with discussion, helped the actual individual work go really smoothly.

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Favorite moment: During our conversation on bugs in programming, we diverted on to a science lesson on why insects are different from arachnids. Without thinking, I said arachnids were not bugs – WRONG! I was quickly reminded that arachnids are, indeed bugs. 🙂 +1 to Clinton Elementary first grade scientists.

Question for the Kodable community: Do you know any good programming books for kids?
The great Jen Latimer is looking for some titles to add to their selection and I thought our #KidsCanCode and Kodable family would be the best place to start. Leave any suggestions in the comments or tweet at Jen personally: @jenlatimer

Some ideas:

Hello Ruby” – by Linda Liukas

What do you do with an Idea?” – by Kobi Yamada (Not programming, but still great. I just bought it for my niece)

Second Stop: Marshall Hill School

Marshall Hill School
Look at all those lovely fuzzes!

What we learned: 

Conditions have always been one of the hardest things for me to explain. I’m always trying new ways to make such an abstract concept seem more concrete. Logically, it is simple to understand, “If this, then that,”  but because it is such a logical expression it is hard to make it concrete in language the littles can understand.

Today, I tried out a new way of explaining it: “When your mom is giving directions to your dad when he is driving, how does he know when to turn? If she doesn’t tell him to turn he’ll keep doing straight. We have to give the fuzzes specific instructions telling them where to turn, or they’ll keep going straight. We give them the signal to turn by using colors.”

I’m going to keep trying this as we continue on the road tour. Perhaps it will make it’s way into the next revision of the Kodable Learning Guide on Conditions. Will you give it a try? Let me know how it goes in the comments!

IMG : Expert coders working on conditions.
Expert coders working on conditions.

Favorite moment: Seeing all of the beautiful fuzzes the kids had colored for us. The walls were covered with new fuzz ideas! <3

The future: 

Everyone at Marshall Hill is on board with coding. It was wonderful to see all of the staff so engaged and excited about getting their students in to programming. Cindy Ranieri and Laura Oaks (@LauraOakes31) are doing a great job of building a community around coding, and they hope to continue that next year with more integration.

 

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

 

#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! 

#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! 

#KidsCanCode Chat: Planning A Summer of Code

Planning a Summer of Code
Is it too early to start thinking about summer? Hmmm…we don’t think so! In this week’s #KidsCanCode Chat, we talk all about our coding goals for the summer, including coding camps, clubs, and PD.
Need help coming up with a coding goal for the summer? Looking no further than the chat below for some ideas. 🙂
Chat Questions: 
Q1: SHARE: One coding related goal that you have for this summer.
Q2: PART A: What coding projects have you tackled in past summers?
Q2: PART B: Where will you go for PD this summer?
Q3: Are you planning any coding camps or clubs this summer?
Q4: SHARE: One way to encourage your students to continue coding during the summer months.
Q5: SHARE: One suggestion for those looking to start or enhance their programming curriculum this summer.
And as always, join us Tuesdays at 8pm EST for #KidsCanCode Programming Education Chat! 

The Kodable Road Tour

The Kodable Road Tour

Pack up the minivan, we’re hitting the road! The Kodable Team is dedicating the month of May to visiting as many schools as possible to teach programming, and we want your school to be on our list!

Fill out an application to apply and make your school one of our stops along our incredibly coding journey. Space is limited, so please only enter your information if you are seriously interested. 🙂

The Kodable Road Tour

#KidsCanCode Chat: Demystifying Coding

Demystifying Coding

Why is coding often perceived as being overly complicated? What can be done to demystify coding in your school? These are the topics of discussion in this week’s #KidsCanCode programming education chat. 🙂

Chat Questions:

Q1: SHARE: The first thought you had when looking at a line of code for the first time.

Q2: How did you get started teaching CS?

Q3: Why do you think coding is often perceived as being overly complicated?

Q4: PART A: What do you find most intimidating about teaching/learning CS?

Q4: PART B: What have you done or can you do to make these things less intimidating?

Q5: What have you done to demystify coding in your school?

Q6: AGREE or DISAGREE: The hardest part about teaching/learning CS is simply getting started.

Don’t forget to share your current coding projects and basic information in our #KidsCanCode Community Directory! We would like to create a great networking resource! 

#KidsCanCode Chat happens every Tuesday at 8pm on Twitter! Join us next time!