14 Resources for Getting Started with Code

No matter what subject you teach, you can get your students interested in coding, or give them a little exposure to what it means to think like a computer scientist.  Here are some resources to get you started.

Do a computer science lesson in your classroom this week.

  • csewhttp://csedweek.org/learn
    Code.org has created a site with hour long activities that teachers can do in their classroom this week.  Some don’t even require computers!  Teachers who sign up to participate this week will receive 10GB of storage in Dropbox.

Find computer science curricula you can use all year.

  • bootstrapworldhttp://www.bootstrapworld.org/
    A completely free curriculum that allows teachers of students ages 12-16 to teach mathematics concepts through coding.
  • http://csunplugged.org/
    CS Unplugged offers free learning activities that teach computer science and computer science concepts without the use of computers.  Activities are hands on and presented as games and puzzles.  They have a free downloadable book as well as lots of other free materials.
  • codehshttp://www.codehs.com/
    Code HS offers a curriculum complete with pacing guide, quizzes, examples, and videos for your students to work with.  All the programming is done through the web browser.  Teachers can make an account for free and access some of the resources available for their own learning as well as create a class and have students join.  There are two paid plans available and schools get discounts depending on the number of students and the amount of time committed.  The premium membership gets you access to college computer science majors to serve as tutors for your students.
  • tynkerhttp://www.tynker.com/
    Tynker offers interactive courses for students to learn programing as a package through their school.  The free school version has 5 starter lessons that are not grade specific and offers 2 instructional modules and 30 quizzes.  There is a school discount available for the full courses based on how many students sign up.
  • http://www.alice.org/index.php
    Alice is a 3D programming environment that allows students to make animations, games etc.  Students use the programming interface to click and drag instructions over to the programming area, then troubleshoot or play their creation in a different window.  The programming software is free and must be installed on the computer.  The program comes with a tutorial and there are textbooks available for purchase.  There are also free instructional materials available to teachers who are at recognized educational institutions, teachers can obtain access by contacting Prentice Hall.
  • http://code.org/educate/curriculum
    Code.org the sponsor of Computer Science week has their own curriculum for K-12 Computer Science.  The entire curriculum is available under a creative commons license.  Teachers sign up to create their class and they will get a class code for their students to use.  When students sign up teachers can then monitor their students progress.  Teachers can even take the course themselves! Lessons include things like intro videos and Angry Bird or Plant Vs. Zombies puzzles for students to solve.  The code is shown in Bockly but you can see the actual code after solving the puzzles.  Students can earn real prizes when they finish the course as well such as Dropbox space or iTunes giftcards!
  • http://code.org/educate/20hr
    Code.org also has a shorter 20 hour introduction to code which can be used in the classroom as an after school activity or as a club.  There are a series of activities including self-guided activities and activities that do not require the computer.

Send your students out to learn about computer science on their own.

  • http://www.tynker.com/
    Tynker also offers interactive courses for students to learn programing at home.  Parents can sign up their 4th-8th grade children for an introduction to programming course which includes 16 lessons for $50 per student.  All programming is done through the web browser.
  • smallbasicshttp://smallbasic.com/
    Microsoft put together Small basic in the hopes of teaching beginners how to code.  Small Basic can be downloaded and installed on your computer for free.  It is a variant of the BASIC programming language and unlike other intro courses in uses actual coding instead of a Blocky type interface. Everything is free including a curriculum, e-books and tutorials.  It can be used by teachers as well but it does not have a built in way for teachers to track student progress.
  • http://scratch.mit.edu/
    Scratch is a variant of LOGO from the 1980s.  It was developed at MIT as a creative and interactive way to introduce children to coding.  Students can make interactive stories, games and animations.  Scratch can be used on the web based platform or can be downloaded onto the computer and worked with that way.  Scratch comes with  step-by-step guides. There is also a curriculum available as well as Scratch Cards which have activities and directions for students to complete.
  • koduhttp://www.kodugamelab.com/
    Also from Microsoft, Kodu lets you create games on the PC and XBox.  It is available as a free download for the PC and for about $5 on the XBox.  Kodu uses a Blocky type interface.  There are free lesson plans and activities available for educators and parents.  Students can share what they make online with the Kudo community and play with games that others have made.

Have your students join an already established after school computer science program.

  • codeNowhttp://codenow.org/
    CodeNow is a nonprofit organization that helps community organizations hold free, extra curricular, off campus trainings where high school students can learn foundational skills in computer programming.  They are currently operating in New York City, Washington D.C., and San Francisco.  This year, students who applied to the program and were accepted went through 6 weekend classes 9am to 4pm and received free lunch and snacks.  They also had the opportunity to earn a laptop by completing all the homework on time.  Student who complete the program have access to an Alumni Network where they will be able to attend events and continue working on their skills with other students.  They are also looking for programmers with experience in Ruby to volunteer to help train students and technology companies willing to host a training.
  • mouseSquadhttp://www.mousesquad.org/
    Students who have been on a MOUSE Squad have the opportunity to apply to be in the MOUSE Corps.  MOUSE Corps is a year long afterschool program that sets up high schools students with mentors in the technology sector, students work on technology projects and develop skills and experiences in real life technology settings.  MOUSE also hosts seasonal activities such as Summer Apprenticeships and MOUSE Corps team retreats.  MOUSE Corps is currently working with New York City high school students.

How do you plan on integrating computer science into your classroom?

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