Drag-and-drop Code: Engaging Students with Computer Programming
Last week, we posted an overview of Code.org's Hour of Code activities (and their new Code Studio), along with some exciting Science Buddies Project Ideas for students who are ready to move beyond an Hour of Code and continue their exploration of computer programming.
In this very relevant video, UC Berkeley Professor Dan Garcia talks about the kind of "drag-and-drop," block-based, snap-together programming environments that are becoming increasingly de facto as a way to introduce students of all ages to code—environments like the ones that appear in Code.org tutorials, in Scratch, and in Tynker.
In the video, Professor Garcia does an excellent job explaining why this kind of approach may really work for students at all levels to provide an engaging and exciting learning space for first-time programmers. With computer coding syntax bugs taken off the table, students can focus, instead, on what they can do with computer-based thinking and logic.
After you watch the video, check out the following Science Buddies projects, resources, and articles:
- Blog post: Computer Programming Basics: An Hour of Code
- Blog post: Playful Programming and Cool Code: From Tech User to Tech Creator
- Blog post: Super Scratch Succeeds in Scratching the Surface of Code with Cartoon Fun
- Resource: Kid-Friendly Programming Languages: suggestions for languages/programming environments for K-12 students interested in making video games.
- Resource: Scratch User Guide: coverage of Scratch basics, installation, and troubleshooting.
- Resource: Resources for STEM Education Through Video Game and Animation Creation: an overview of tools for teaching video game design and discussion of how the process helps support STEM learning.
Drag-and-drop App Creation
The new Can You Crowdsource a Better School Environment? computer science project is the second project at Science Buddies that uses MIT's App Inventor as a programming environment for app development. In the new crowdsourcing project, students use App Inventor to create an app to encourage members of a community (like a school) to all work together to accomplish something.
To explore App Inventor further, see the Staying Healthy with Personal Medicine Apps science project. The project guides students in programming a reminder app using MIT App Inventor.