Everyone loves a good freebie!
As I create new resources I’ll offer bits and pieces for free when I can, and when I do this is where you’ll find them. For now I’ll start you off with a list of free resources that you can use with your students to start your coding journey!
Interactive PC and web-based tools to teach programming:
- Code Academy – web-based, students just need to sign up using an email address. Complete a huge variety of coding tasks online and earn points and badges while doing so.
- Code Studio – work through a range of activities designed for children of all ages, includes lesson plans and “unplugged” activities that can be done without a computer.
- Tynker – Particularly great for young learners, uses a drag-and-drop interface, children build their own games and work through challenges. Comes with a few free activities to get you started, but then you’re looking at paid subscriptions after that.
- Alice – a downloadable 3D programming environment designed to be a student’s first exposure to object-oriented programming. Students learn fundamental programming concepts in the context of creating animated movies and simple video games.
PC and web-based platforms to help you build your own programs:
- MIT Scratch – very popular, fantastic for younger learners, completely free and “in the cloud” so you do all your work in your internet browser. Uses simple drag and drop editors to create interactive stories. Publish your work to share with others.
- MIT App Inventor 2 – very much like Scratch, except designed for building Android apps! Completely free, “in the cloud” and uses very similar simple drag and drop editors to Scratch.
- Kodu Game Lab – free downloadable software from Microsoft designed for building 3D games. Very intuitive and a big online community to provide help if you need it, can be used to build PC or XBox games. Visually stunning and lots of fun!
- Kids Ruby – free downloadable software to teach Ruby programming to kids. Requires a little tech savvy to get it up and running.
- GameMaker Studio – Developed by YoYo Games, free downloadable software to develop games for multiple platforms including Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Ubuntu and more. Use drag and drop or GML (a C-style language) to build your RPG and platformer style games. Lots of fun! Best for older learners.
iPad apps that teach programming:
- Daisy the Dinosaur – has an easy drag and drop interface that kids of all ages can use to animate Daisy to dance across the screen. Kids will intuitively grasp the basics of objects, sequencing, loops and events by solving this app’s challenges.
- Hopscotch – Inspired by MIT’s Scratch, the Hopscotch programming language works by dragging and dropping method blocks into scripts. When you’re done with a script, press play to see your code in action! Make games and share them with others.
- Coddy Free – children construct a sequence of steps so that the pencil Coddy can draw a pattern chosen from the menu or created from scratch. Encourages logical thinking and programming skills.
Other resources (e.g. videos, reference guides):
- Learn HTML & CSS – A series of comprehensive text-based lessons on HTML and CSS that you can work through at your own pace.