Showing posts with label Javascript. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Javascript. Show all posts

Monday, May 3, 2021

Blackbird Code - Overview and First Impressions from My Students

Last week I published a written overview of a new learn-to-code platform called Blackbird. In short, Blackbird is a platform that is trying to bridge the gap between using block editors like Scratch and making students jump into a full-fledged IDE without any built-in support resources. Blackbird teaches students how to write code (specifically, JavaScript) through a series of short, guided lessons before challenging them with some "workshop projects." Along the way there are plenty of easily accessible help resources for students to use without having to leave the code that they're currently writing. Watch this video that I made for a visual overview of Blackbird.



Initial Impressions from My Students
I have a small group of students taking a Computer Science Principles class with me. In the class there is a mix of freshmen, juniors, and seniors (sophomores are welcome to take the class, I just don't have any this year). Today, I used Blackbird with them for the first time. All of my students thought the first few lessons were "too easy" and they breezed right through them. But by the time they got to the fourth lesson in stage 1, they didn't feel that way. At that point they started to use the "show me" button in Blackbird to get a little help writing their code. All of the students felt like there was a lot of repetition which, as one student pointed out, is a good way to learn the language.

The exception to the above impressions from my students was one junior who had a lot of prior experience writing JavaScript. He ripped through all of the stage 1 lessons very quickly. So quickly, in fact, that I challenged him to watch this video then try to code the Snake game. He accepted and will probably finish by the time class meets again on Thursday.



This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Sites that regularly steal my (Richard Byrne's) work include CloudComputin, TodayHeadline, and 711Web. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Learn Javascript Fundamentals and More With Google's Grasshopper

About eighteen months ago Google published a mobile app called Grasshopper. Grasshopper was created as an app for students to use to learn to code on their Android phones or iPhones. Today, Google announced that you can now use Grasshopper in the web browser on your laptop or desktop computer.

Whether you use Grasshopper on a phone, tablet, or laptop each lesson starts with an introduction to the basic vocabulary of coding before moving into the coding lessons. You have to pass the vocabulary quiz before your can jump into the lessons. Each lesson has a tutorial, a practice activity, and a quiz. You have to successfully complete each lesson before progressing to the next one. Grasshopper will save your work in progress.

Applications for Education
I tried the Grasshopper app when it first came out and found it intuitive and easy to use. As I wrote then, I can see middle school and high school students following the tutorials with little or no intervention from their teachers. In fact, I'm going to have my 9th grade students try Grasshopper next week when I'm away for the day and a substitute teacher will be with them.