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Saturday, March 9, 2019

Tynker Offers a Good Way to Introduce Students to Programming

Tynker is a service that provides activities to help students developing coding skills. I first tried Tynker years ago and have watched it grow from a simple app to a full-blown coding curriculum for elementary and middle school use. The Tynker coding environment makes learning to code fun and immediately accessible to students in elementary school and middle school. Of course, older kids can use it too.

Getting Started With Tynker in Your Classroom
Register as a teacher at Tynker.com to start using it in your classroom. Registration is easy because you can sign-up by using your Microsoft account, by using your Google account, by using Clever, or by entering your email address and picking a password. One of the benefits of registering with your Google or Clever account is that you can instantly import a roster from those services into your Tynker account. Otherwise, you can manually a roster and accounts for your students to use on Tynker. Either way, Tynker provides a convenient PDF of your students’ username and passwords.

Once you have set-up your account, you can begin assigning courses and lessons to your students. Tynker provides three free courses to pick from (nine additional courses are available in a premium account).Within your Tynker account you can track your students’ progress through each lesson.

Tynker provides detailed teaching guides for each course. The guides include suggested time frames, questions to ask students, standards alignment, and screenshots of what students will see when they’re trying to complete an activity in Tynker. And if you need more support, Tynker has an extensive help center, a community forum, and on-demand professional development webinars that you can access at any time.

What Tynker Looks Like to Students
At its core Tynker gives students a block-based programming interface. Students drag and drop code blocks into place to create a program. The introductory lessons have kids making animations while more advanced lessons have students programming music videos and games. And when students are ready for the hardest challenges they can use Tynker on their own to create Minecraft mods, to control connected robots, build web apps, and create mobile games for use on Android and iOS.

Want to learn more about how you can introduce programming and coding in your classroom? Register for the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp