5 Resources for Cracking the Code of 21st Century Learning

Giving students opportunities to learn through coding prepares them for innumerable future opportunities in our digital world.

In a society and workforce that is ever-changing, the most important career preparation a teacher can provide is fostering a love of learning and aiding students in keeping that spark for lifelong learning ignited. Many of tomorrow’s careers are nonexistent today, but the foundational skills they will require and the mindset for being successful within them can be laid today. Along with reading, writing, and arithmetic, a firm grasp of coding can take students far in their future endeavors. These 5 coding resources are the perfect way to expose students to this much needed 21st century skill.

Alice — Lots of innovation in one free package, Alice offers students a variety of resources and activities to learn and explore in the world of programming. This 3D animation creation software appeals to a variety of age and skill levels. With tutorial components that walk students through the basic concepts and multiple software downloads that focus on fundamental programming principles, logical and computational thinking, object-oriented thinking, and programming language, Alice has the bases of coding covered. The website is chocked full of resources to help teachers gets students engaged in the ins and outs of computer programming.

Cargo-Bot — This free coding app from Two Lives Left allows users to teach a robot how to move crates. With 36 different puzzles to solve and a variety of coding solutions to do so, this app offers hours of engaging learning opportunities for older students. Created by a Codea user, Cargo-Bot is a perfect example to show students what can be created using coding skills and app generator programs.

Khan Academy — The amazing and free resources from Khan Academy include a wide variety of options for coding. A host of activities centered around the Hour of Code movement that was created by Computer Science Education Week and can be found alongside tutorials for creating animations, simulations, interactive webpages, and much, much more. Students can hear from programming professionals, view projects created by other users, and begin the journey into the coding world all from a singular starting point. Teachers and parents can relish in the peace of mind that comes from having students actively engaged in a variety of activities from this trusted source.

Move the Turtle — This low-cost app for ages 5+ is a simple and entertaining way to introduce the complex thought processes behind coding. Students will be engaged with the game-like format that has users creating code to do just as the name suggests, Move the Turtle. This easy to navigate app allows kids to explore and gain an understanding of loops, procedures, variables, and conditional instructions. While they may not get down all the vernacular of coding, the will definitely get down the ideas behind its key concepts.

Scratch — This widely-used, free resource allows students to code stories, animations, and games as they dive into the processes associated with programming. With an online community for educators and a host of activities and resources, Scratch is a perfect match for teachers with any level of programming experience. Teachers can create accounts to assign, manage, and interact with students on their coding projects. These resources can be applied to any curriculum with the added bonus of interspersing coding skills and problem solving. Students are able to share their creations and view projects created by other users in the online community. Produced by the MIT Media Lab, Scratch gives students exposure to coding concepts and processes in an engaging digital world.

When it comes to preparing students for a bright future, a focus on 21st century skills is a must. By infusing coding into the curriculum, teachers are giving students a head start on being prepared for whatever careers may be awaiting them. With these 5 resources, engaging lessons and creations will abound as students delve into the world of coding.