By Amanda Bindel,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Code, create, and collaborate with cute characters.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this app.
Kids can learn the logic of programming by exploring visual blocks of code, giving kids a high-level picture of what's involved in creating video games. An independent research study shows use of the app increases sequencing ability, interest in computer-related activities, and confidence around problem-solving.
Though characters aren't realistic, they do portray women in STEM roles with lots of agency. The developers state that they aim to be inclusive and close the gender gap in STEM. Kids can also create their own characters, which allows for even more options and representations.
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Ease of Play
On-screen hand prompts kids on how to make new commands. Difficulty ramps up very quickly, but kids can replay each level as many times as necessary.
Violence & Scariness
Cartoon-like violence with no characters injured.
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Parents Need to Know
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Based on 23 parent reviews
BEWARE - keep charging you even after subscription cancelled
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What’s It About?
CODESPARK ACADEMY features fun little monsters navigating city streets, encountering police officers and construction sites as well as obstacles such as boxes and tires. Kids drag and drop commands or visual blocks of code from the Scratch programming language into the correct order to guide monsters to their destination. Kids must complete one level to advance to the next, and they receive one, two, or three stars based on how efficiently they used the commands. Levels can be replayed for a higher score. In Adventure Game mode kids can code their own games and share with others.
Is It Any Good?
As with other coding games, this app features monster characters that will appeal to both boys and girls; in this case, however, those characters work together, and the game plays out in a story format. The levels get increasingly challenging and the story more complex. By design, kids have to figure out what to do and how to do it on their own, which will be empowering for most kids and frustrating for some. A solutions guide is available through the parent section of codeSpark Academy, which is essential, as some levels involve trickier solutions requiring multiple characters. And the ability to create games and share them allows for more creativity and social elements, which can boost learning. Overall, it's a fun way to expose kids to the logic of programming.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how code drives technology, from the tablets and computers we use to other electronics we encounter every day. What do your kids already know about coding? How can codeSpark Academy help you learn?
Explain the star scoring to kids: Even though they may construct code that is functional, they won't get three stars until they use the most efficient commands.
- Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Chromebook, Kindle Fire
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: logic, strategy, thinking critically, Tech Skills: digital creation, using and applying technology
- Pricing structure: Free to try (Free trial and then $9.99/mo. for home users.)
- Release date: January 20, 2022
- Category: Education
- Topics: Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires, Science and Nature
- Publisher: codeSpark
- Version: 3.04.02
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 10.0 or later; Android 4.4 and up
- Last updated: April 13, 2022
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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