8 October, 2020
Now that many schools across the country are remaining closed for the autumn term, parents are forming learning pods as an alternative to remote instruction. But learning pods are not only appropriate for schoolwork, but for extracurricular activities too! In fact, education pods are the ideal format for children to learn to code.
What are the benefits of a coding learning pod?
So, what are some activities for a coding learning pod, which will inspire, educate, and engage your child?
Elementary school students will benefit most from block-based coding activities with visual
programming languages (VPLs) in their coding learning pod. VPLs teach kids the main concepts of programming by combining sequences of drag-and-drop blocks containing the underlying code. This is ideal for younger kids as no typing abilities are required.
- Animate a story
If your child is full of imagination then they can learn to code by animating their own story on ScratchJr. Kids select or design backgrounds and characters on the ScratchJr platform, think up a storyline, and bring it to life with their new coding knowledge. Once they’ve finished, they can upload their project to the Scratch website, and also download and ‘remix’ the projects of their friends. So, story activities can be done collaboratively or independently.
- Make a presentation
Scratch is designed for slightly older kids, and gives them the freedom to develop a wide range of projects, such as interactive multimedia presentations. Children in the learning pod can devise a topic to present – their favourite holiday destination or animal, how to make their favourite meal, anything that interests them! Alternatively, your coding learning pod could create a presentation for their schoolwork.
- Game design
What child doesn’t love playing games? Learning to program through gaming is entertaining and educational – and the perfect activity for a coding learning pod. There are many different platforms that your child can use.
On Kodu, your kids can design a competitive game. Set a theme – a race, strategy game or sports game – and let them design it in a 3D world of their choosing! As well as learning to code your kids can play the games with each other, getting some fun screen-time in a productive setting.
Roblox is a creative rather than competitive game, in which children create an avatar to explore a 3D game world. They can start by playing and editing existing games to get to grips with the software, before building their own map and using their newly-learnt coding skills to bring it to life. You can set a task for the coding learning pod – for example, building an obstacle course or spaceship – and then let their imaginations run wild!
Kids in 6 th-8 th grade who can type well are ready for text-based coding. This is an exciting opportunity which can pave the way for a career in programming, or simply lead to future creative ventures.
- Web development
- App design
Did your kids know that many of their favourite apps, such as Spotify, Instagram, and YouTube, were created using Python? Even better – did they know that they too can be a creative app designer? By downloading third-party libraries to use with Python, such as Django, Flask, or Pygame, kids can make apps for chatrooms, music libraries, and games. As Python is compatible on nearly all operating systems, children can share their apps with friends and family outside of their coding learning pod!
One of the most popular games amongst children is Minecraft, which encourages limitless exploring and creating in a 3D game world. Learning to code will give your children the chance to ‘mod’ in Minecraft, aka alter the game’s code. This is sure to captivate even the most reluctant of teenagers, who can create their own multiplayer games, programme arcade games, or customise existing mods in their coding learning pod. Whilst playing, they are learning the basics of Java , one of the world’s most widely-used programming languages.
Thanks for reading this article and if you have any questions or comments on this topic or coding and STEM in general, please feel free to contact us.
Shutterstock's photo/Children in computer science classes