Darlington School Blog

Darlington School
Beth Wardlaw
Technology Integration Specialist

Beth has served as technology integration specialist since 2015. She holds a B.S. in Middle Grades Education from Shorter College and an M.Ed. in Instructional Technology from Kennesaw State University. At Darlington, she has received the Brown Faculty Award and was a recipient of the Carla and Leonard Wood Faculty Professional Development Endowment Award. Prior to her work at Darlington, Beth taught Technology, Robotics, as well as Business and Computer Science at Armuchee Middle School. She and her husband, Andrew, are the parents of Shyann ('26), Kaleb ('26), and Bella Grace ('30).

6 FREE Apps to Help YOU Start Coding Today!

6/8/2017 1:25:00 PM, 480 views

Just like learning a language at an early age, learning programming and the logical thinking behind how a computer works when young influences a child’s brain while it is still developing. The future of our world is digital, so providing our students with a rich foundation in these types of problem solving skills will be valuable to his/her success as they move forward through life, college, and work. While learning this at a young age is great, it is never too late for anyone to start learning how to code.


If you are looking for a place to start coding, no matter your age, I encourage you to try one of these fun and educational apps:


1. Kodable

Kodable is an amazing app that teaches students (and parents!) the basics of javascript. It starts easy and then works its way up to more complex coding. Beginning with basic drag and drop, you eventually progress to writing your own lines of code. Because of the easy step-by-step instructions and beginner levels, students can learn to use the programming before they can even read.


2. Lightbot: Code Hour

Lightbot is a fun, engaging game that quickly engages students in the principles of coding without using any actual code. With the objective of programming a robot to traverse different puzzles, students learn the importance of step-by-step directions in programming as well as beginner programming fundamentals. Students love the accomplishment of solving puzzles and the challenge of reaching new levels. Personally, I have sat down to do a quick level only to realize I had been working on it for hours.


3. Cargo-Bot

Cargo-Bot is a little more advanced for budding programmers looking for a challenge. With the objective of using a robotic arm to organize crates, this puzzler engages as it teaches fundamental programming concepts. What I love most is how it teaches the demands of coding and programming, so as how you may come up with a solution but it may not be the optimal one. Developing a “fail-up” mentality is important and this app does a great job fostering that.

4. Hopscotch

Hopscotch allows you to drag blocks into different places to create games, art, and a variety of different mediums. The exciting thing about Hopscotch is that you immediately get to see the fruit of your actions. You will love the simplicity of this app: simply drag, drop, and play!


5. Scratch, Jr

Scratch, Jr. is one of my very favorite apps for coding. Students can use items that have been pre-made or they may develop their own characters and scenes. There is no limit to the amount of time, work, and design that can be put into any given project. You can create a story, animation, game, or video. If you are looking for somewhere to get started with coding, I suggest you start here. You can make each scene as easy or difficult as you want it to be. It is also fun to hook your creation up to a Makey Makey.


6. Tynker

Tynker is my son’s “favorite app ever!” We have had a lot of fun making games for each other to play. In Tynker, you use drag-and-drop coding to create games, animations, or a storyboard. There are a variety of different options for boys and girls alike. You can code your own robot, sphero, drone, or even make a mod for Minecraft! There is a free and paid version and I encourage you to get started with either one today.

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