Can a board game teach coding to preschoolers?

blue-6201-300x229NPR posted a story that came across my Facebook page. The author, Elise Hu, tells us about how a new board game is targeting preschoolers in the hopes of teaching them how to code. You can view Hu’s article This Board Game Aims to Teach Preschoolers How to Code by clicking here.

To briefly summarize the article, the board game was developed by start-up entrepreneur and former Google employee, Dan Shapiro. He decided to come up with a way to play a game with his kids that wouldn’t bore him. So, he came up with his own game called Robot Turtles. It’s a board game, not a computer game, that teaches the fundamentals of programming. The game doesn’t use words to do this. Instead, children learn “by cutting out clip art cards and moving the cards based on what the kids were doing”.

Curious? If so, check these out:

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Using Socrative to Enhance Student Response in The Classroom

Image“Socrative is a smart student response system that empowers teachers to engage their classrooms through a series of educational exercises and games via smartphones, laptops, and tablets.” 

We used Socrative in the class as a way to participate and interact with the class during discussions. Check it out by watching the video below or you can click on the logo to go to the website.

 

 

Creative Learning using Kerpoof

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“As long as you know how to have fun, you should find a lot of fun to be had with Kerpoof. If you don’t know how to have fun, Kerpoof is a good way to learn. Really. It’s OK for lawyers to have fun, too.”

Overview: Kerpoof Studios is a kid-friendly site owned and operated by Disney. It provides various activities that allow the user to create such items as movies, pictures, and cards. It also provides resources for teachers such as lesson plans that you can download in PDF format. Teachers can also use this site with their class in the classroom. Each student can create their own avatar and save their creations within their backpacks (inventory button) on the site. Students can also use this site for free from home. The downside to the site is that the images, backgrounds, and themes are predetermined by the creators. However, the constraints placed on the creative process within the site is not an issue considering the wide range of options provided. Additional options are available for an upgrade, but otherwise the site is free to use. My son enjoyed using this site. He especially liked creating his own avatar. He made a movie and a story, which he found to be very fun. Here is a link to my Jing video providing a quick overview of Kerpoof: 2013-10-16_0939

Getting there: If you type in kerpoof.com you can go to the site and it will begin loading. However, it can sometimes get “stuck” and show that it is still loading. Refreshing doesn’t seem to help. So, I began to Google the site and by clicking on one of the menus below (ex. “for teachers” or “lesson plans”) I was able to backtrack to the main homepage. It seems to work out better this way…you don’t have to wait on the site to load. When you go onto the site, you should go ahead and create your avatar and set up an account. Once you’ve done that, you can get started creating your projects. There are other options if you want to set up a teacher account to use with your students. You can read all about that by clicking here for the teacher link.

Ideas for using Kerpoof: I would suggest looking at the lesson plans that are provided by the site as a way to get ideas for using the activities for your classroom. Some examples are

  1. Exploring Fact and Fiction in the American West (grades 4-5)
  2. The History of Halloween: Lesson Plan & Timeline

For other examples click here.