We live in a world where students are immersed in technology, leading many to want to learn about computer programming at a young age. Here are three of our favorite programs for teaching kids about programming and how they can use these skills to create their own video games:
Hour of Code is a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to decipher code and show that anybody can learn the basics. The creators use current trends in gaming to help garner interest with kids using games such as Minecraft, Angry Birds, and Plants vs. Zombies. KidsTek instructor Luisa Zamora explains “I used Hour of Code as an introductory tool for teaching students coding and as a way to engage them with PowerPoint. They used the PowerPoint as a reflection tool to present their newfound skills that Hour of Code teaches.
Hour of Code is a great introductory exercise for us because its interface is similar to Scratch, another programming tool popular with KidsTek students. With Scratch, students can program their own interactive games and animations, and share their creations with others in the online community.
Kodu is another teaching tool that we use with KidsTek students. Kodu lets kids create games using a simple visual programming language. Anyone can use Kodu to make games with no design or programming skills needed. Our kids really enjoy Kodu because of its 3-D graphics. KidsTek instructor Courtney Wade says “There are so many ways to use Kodu– each student’s individual creativity really shines through in the projects they create.”
All three of these programming resources have been great tools for our students. Video game design inspires kids to think creatively and develops their problem solving skills.
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