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

NATURE

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.

All aboard the S.T.E.A.M. Train! Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, & Mathematics Edtech Resources

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Image courtesy of Terry Williams and Thomine Wilson

What is STEAM?

S.T.E.A.M. stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, & Mathematics. It’s STEM education but with the addition of the art subject. STEAM learning can promote creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. Integrating art concepts like design into STEM subjects can encourage students create innovative projects, products, and solutions.  Although the arts may not get a lot of love in schools, a study showed that when it was integrated in a classroom students were more creative, engaged, and more effective at problem solving than a non-art integrated classroom.

The STEAM Train

In honor of the STEAM learning philosophy every month or so I will share a collection of edtech resources, one for each of the STEAM subjects. Here are a few to get you started:

Science

Bobo Explores Light
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What this Resource Includes: Science Reading Material, Interactive Content
Subjects: Physics
Grade Level: 3-6
Audience: Learners
Platform: iPad
Price: $4.99
What it does well: Bobo Explores Light is a great app to introduce young kids to a few concepts of physics. It resembles an interactive e-book with a robot as your guide. Each page cover a different scientific concept. Users can interact with gadgets, lasers and other science instruments in the app and learn by observing reactions from these interactive features. The app also provides reading material about science phenomenon including lasers, lightning, and bio-luminescence.

Technology

Code Hunt
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What this Resource Includes: Coding Games
Subjects: Programming-Java, C#
Grade Level: 6-12+
Audience: Learners
Platform: Web-based
Price: Free
What it does well: Code Hunt is a programming online game from the Research in Software Engineering group and Connections group at Microsoft Research. As of now it teaches users Java and C# coding. The game consists of many levels where players learn about arithmetic operators, conditional statements, loops, strings, search algorithms and more.

Engineering

123D Circuits
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What this Resource Includes: Breadboard, Schematic and PCB editor, Shop for Electrical Circuit Kits
Subjects: Electrical Engineering
Grade Level: 6-12+
Audience: Learners
Platform: Web-based
Price: Free
What it does well: 123D Circuits is an online circuit breadboard simulator that lets users experiment with digital circuits and share them with an online community. The site also includes a shop where users can purchase conductive pens and various circuit kits. It even includes a basic circuit kit designed for teachers to use in a classroom.

Art

Chromatik
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What this Resource Includes: Digital Music Sheets
Subjects: Music Sheet Reading
Grade Level: 3-12+
Audience: Learners
Platform: iPad
Price: Free
What it does well: Chromatik is a music learning app that includes music teaching tools like sheet music, electronic recorders, metronomes, and tuners. The app includes a music sheet library from different genres of music. Users can create their own sheet music and share it on the app. They can also record themselves playing an instrument and then share the audio with the Chromatik community or through social media.

Mathematics

Dragonbox Algebra
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What this Resource Includes: Math Games
Subjects: Algebra
Grade Level: 1-6
Audience: Learners
Platform: Android, iPad & iPhone
Price: $4.99 & $7.99
What it does well: Dragonbox teaches players algebra without any numerical values. There are two versions of the game with 12+ being more difficult than 5+. It has game mechanics that makes it addicting, similar to other mobile games like Angry Birds. Each level becomes increasingly difficult to keep challenging the player. A score of up to three stars can be earned for each level. The less moves a player made to complete the level, the higher the score. Dragonbox earns bonus points for providing teacher resources on their website. It includes manuals, worksheets, and Common Core standards alignment.

Do you know of any other Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, or Math edtech resources? Share it with the rest of the class by commenting below!

Until next time, keep learning everyone.

Smile! Social and Emotional Learning Edtech Resources

imageImage courtesy of WhatMattDoes via Flickr

I try my best to share the most useful edtech resources that most teachers may not be aware of. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, I thought may be appropriate to share a few social and emotional learning edtech resources. From my experience social and emotional learning isn’t widely talked about in the edtech space. It involves teaching students how to identify and control their emotions, feel and show empathy towards others, and establish positive relationships.

Learning how to tap into positive emotions may help students perform better academicallyIt can also help students manage stress and help deal with bullying. Social and emotional learning can begin as early as preschool and continue through a person’s life.

Here are a few social and emotional edtech resources to get you started:

If…The Emotional IQ Game image

What this Resource has: Emotional IQ Games, Social Puzzles, Parent Dashboard, Curriculum & Activities, Player Avatars
Grade Level: K-5
Audience: Learners
Platform: iPhone & iPad
Price: Freemium, Subscription
What it does well: IF… fully immerses players into the game with great visuals with voiced characters. Players can also customize their avatar further engaging them in the game. By following the game’s story players will learn how to manage stress, anxiety, anger, sadness, and frustration. The game is split into several chapters. Each chapter equates to one month’s worth of lessons. Though the game requires a subscription, the first chapter is free to play.

Class Dojo image

What this Resource has: Teacher Dashboard, Progress Tracker, Parent-Teacher Messaging System, Student Avatars
Grade Level: K-5
Audience: Teachers, Parents, & Learners
Platform: Web-based, Android devices, iPhone, iPad, & Smartboards
Price: Free
What it does well: This class management platform encourages positive emotions in the classroom. Teachers can award positive feedback to students to encourage good behavior in the classroom. Class Dojo allows parents and teachers to communicate easily through their messaging feature. Also, both parents and students can view teacher feedback. These features are a great way of keeping parents informed.

iLearn With Poko: Emotions and Colors! image

What this Resource has: Animation Clips, Games, Progress Tracker
Grade Level: PreK-1
Audience: Learners
Platform: iPhone & iPad
Price: Free
What it does well: iLearn with Poko teaches young students (ages 5 and under) how to correctly identify an emotion by watching short animated clips. An interesting aspect of the app is that it teaches a few art concepts, as well as social development. It also teaches students listening and comprehension, problem-solving, and critical thinking. Parents can view their child’s progress through the app’s progress tracker.

Check out this Pinterest board full of edtech resources that can help promote social and emotional learning.

Programming Edtech Collection for Young Learners

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Image from Donnie Ray Jones of Flickr

Hello everyone, and welcome to the first Edtech Collection blog post! Here is where I’ll gather any edtech resources that I believe are noteworthy to share with teachers and parents. The reason I’m doing this is because whenever I’ve talked to teachers through Twitter chats I would get requests for lists of educational resources on specific subjects. Which is why I’ve decided to start creating these collections of Edtech resources and share them with you all. The most requested subject would be programming which is why this first collection is focused on resources that help build programming skills.

Programming is definitely a subject that many teachers and parents are now starting to teach to young children. But before kids can start learning how to write Java, Html, or C++, it would be beneficial if they first learned programming logic. Some say all kids would benefit from learning programming logic. Thankfully these edtech resources are geared toward younger students and does a great job of teaching them programming logic like program structure, variable declaration, loops, and conditional statements. They also help build important skills like problem solving. These programming resources all capture the younger crowd’s attention by using bright colors and characters. Keeping them engaged as they are learning.

I’ve listed some of the most interesting educational resources that can teach most elementary school students programming logic. Check out the Pinterest board which you can view below.

I’m also sharing a Google Sheet document that contains the collection and includes more information about each resource. This is so that you can copy and paste the programming edtech collection for your reference rather than keeping it confined to this blog. This would also give you a nice start to creating your own edtech collection.

Here is the Programming Edtech Collection for Young Learners:

Note that this isn’t the definitive list. If you’re reading this blog post from the future then check the collection Pinterest board and Google Sheet which will always be updated with any new resources I may find.

If there are any coding edtech resources you would like to add to this list please leave me a comment below. This is just the first of many edtech collections posts, so if you have any feedback or suggestions for next time let me know!

Until next time keep programming everyone.