Let the Coding Games Begin! 5 Awesome Edtech Games that Teach Programming

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Today I will share five games that teach players programming concepts through game-based learning. Some of the advantages of learning through gaming include promoting active learning and building problem-solving skills.

Playing to learn

Most video games encourage players to learn in order to advance in the game. When a player first starts a game they need to learn how to control and manipulate different elements in the game such as a character or various game pieces. Then they will need to formulate strategies to complete a goal for a level in order to move on. If a player fails to complete the level’s objective they would need to learn from their mistakes, rethink their strategy, and try again.

Once a player reaches the next level they will need to repeat the process. Every level increases in difficulty which keeps players on their toes. Players are encouraged to complete these increasingly challenging levels through internal game rewards. These rewards can include game points, new levels, or continuing the game story.

These are just some ways gaming can engage and promote learning. The educational games listed all use these game-based learning elements to make teaching programming fun and engaging.

Here are 5 Coding games to get you started:

Code Combat
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What this Resource Includes: Games Levels, Game Community Forum
Subjects: Programming
Grade Level: 3-12
Audience: Learners
Platform: Web-based
Price: Free
What it does well: CodeCombat is an RPG game where players write code in order to control their characters. The game promotes learning code through writing actual strings of code! The forums are a great resource for learners who may get stuck during the game.

Doctor Who: The Doctor and the Dalek
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What this Resource Includes: Game Levels, Teacher Resources
Subjects: Programming
Grade Level: 3-12
Audience: Learners
Platform: iPad & Android tablets
Price: Free
What it does well: Doctor Who: The Doctor and the Dalek teach programming concepts by using elements from the show. Fans of the show will definitely get excited about learning code through this game! The BBC website also includes resources for teachers to use.

My Robot Friend
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What this Resource Includes: Game Levels
Subjects: Programming, Math, Spelling
Grade Level: K-5
Audience: Learners
Platform: iPhone & iPad
Price: $3.99
What it does well: My Robot Friend is an educational game that covers multiple subjects: math, spelling, and programming. The game helps users build their problem-solving skills by using coding concepts to navigate the robot through each level. There are incentives to complete each level, some of which include achievements, ribbons, and coins to get customizations options for the robot. The game is a great way to introduce learners as young as 5-year-old to programming concepts.

Run Marco!
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What this Resource Includes: Game Levels
Subjects: Programming
Grade Level: K-5
Audience: Learners
Platform: iPhone & iPad, Android, Google Chrome Extension
Price: Free
What it does well: Run Marco is a game with an original story where players will need to complete levels in order to progress with the story. Players set off on a journey with Marco and control the character through stackable command blocks similar to the ones in Scratch. The game is able to attract an international audience because it is available in 17 languages!

Kodable
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What this Resource Includes: Games Levels, Lesson Plans, Activities, Video Tutorials, Teacher Dashboard,
Subjects: Programming, Spelling, Vocabulary
Grade Level: K-12
Audience: Learners & Teachers
Platform: iPhone & iPad
Price: Freemium
What it does well: Kodable is a game that includes great features and resources for teachers. This game is great for young learners to start getting familiar with programming concepts. Teachers can view a student’s progress in the game through a dashboard. Through the dashboard, teachers can add multiple students, view their learning progress, and see which Common Core standards were met. Kodable 

For more edtech resources for learning how to code check out the Coding Edtech Resources Pinterest board (which will always be updated with new resources):

http://www.pinterest.com/edtechfunction/coding-edtech-resources/

Do you know of any other Coding edtech games? Share them with the rest of the class by commenting below!

Until next time, keep learning everyone.

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Does PhotoMath have any learning potential?

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Image courtesy of PhotoMath

PhotoMath is a new mobile app that allows users to take a picture of a math equation on their phone and instantly receive an answer. As of now the app can only read printed equations. So it’ll be most useful when students encounter a tricky math equation on a textbook. Also the app can solve only arithmetic, fractions, decimals, powers, roots, and linear equations a well as functions like log, exp, sin, cos. This means that it won’t be much help if students are faced with a word problem.

At first the app sounded like a great way to cheat on Math homework. After a little digging around on the PhotoMath homepage, I’ve learned that it does more than pop out an answer. The app also provides a step by step solution to the equation. But does this makes PhotoMath a learning app? I think it does have the potential to become one. One idea to increase its learning potential can be if the app provides the users with similar or more difficult problems after viewing a solutions. This is so that they can use what they’ve learned from the step by step solution and apply it to more advanced equations. This can be a good way to reflect on the original problem for deeper learning.

After reading the PhotoMath blog it was clear to me that they didn’t create the app for cheating. I’m really interested in seeing if this app will be able to solve more advance math concepts like integrals and derivatives. What do math teachers think about the learning potential of PhotoMath? Sound off in the comments section below!

Until next time keep calculating everyone!