During the 6 weeks holiday I had the pleasure of travelling to Amsterdam to attend the Apple Distinguished Educator’s Institute for the Class of 2015. During this time I met some amazing people and shared and saw lots of good practice. Whilst I was in Amsterdam I numerous talented and skilled staff, one of which was @nicholaspokes, a primary head from Ireland. Nichola introduced me to the computing app ‘Kodable’ (free). This app helps with the early stages of teaching computing and introducing the children to the concepts of algorithms, programming and the terminology that is used.
Kodable contains a variety of levels that are accessible for the children and aid and further their progress (some are in app purchases).
The children are presented with a course that the alien/creature has to venture through. Using the directional arrows at the top of the screen they have to programme and direct the creature to tell him where to go. To begin with the children will be given clues and the arrows will change size as a visual aid and support for the children. This is an option that can be changed whether you are in lesson mode of free play mode. Once the children have completed the course and algorithm for the creature by selecting the play button at the top of the screen the alien will begin to move and follow to algorithm in place.
If successful, the child will move onto the next level, if not successful then the child will stay and be asked to try again.
I loved this app and straight away thought it would be good for the later part of EYFS and especially good for the beginning part of KS1. As we were off school I didn’t have the option to try and work with this app and try it in our school, however I do plan to :). Instead I popped down to visit my little cousin who has just left Reception and I know he has had some experience of Beetbots in his previous Reception class, so I know he has some awareness (basic) or programming.
My little cousin responded to it very well. He had never seen the game before but knew that he had to “get the blue alien to the other side without him stopping”. He said “it’s a bit like the bee at school, we have to count the squares for the bee to go”, so immediately he created that link Â to his previous learning. My cousin then went ahead and made the link between where the alien had to go first and which arrow it would be. To start with he would only do one step at a time and then press play to see his alien move, however, he realised quickly on his own that the alien had to get from one end of the screen to the other independently, forcing him to think ‘stop’ ‘then go up’ then ‘stop’ which are the basic principles and early stages of computing that the children have to think about before they eve go on to variables and doing such things such as ‘turn’ or ‘wait 3 seconds’.
A simple yet brilliant app to help with early programming in the KS1 classroom.