A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
- Parents say
- Kids say
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 the monster to his destination. Kids must complete one level to advance to the next, and they receive one, two, or three stars based on how efficiently they use the commands. Levels can be replayed for a higher score.
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. 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, Paid, Free (Free trial and then $7.99 per month for home users.)
- Release date: December 9, 2014
- Category: Education
- Topics: Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires, Science and Nature
- Size: 154.20 MB
- Publisher: codeSpark
- Version: 2.17.00
- Minimum software requirements: iOS 7.0 or later; Android 2.3.3 and up
- Last updated: November 11, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.