What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Kodable introduces kids to the kind of logic and the concepts needed in computer programming. The free version includes the first lesson, Smeeborg, which introduces kids to the step-by-step instructions involved in programming, if/then statements, and loops. It also includes a rich parent section with a written teaching curriculum, the ability to unlock levels for kids, ideas for off-screen games to play to develop logic skills, and clear instructions for enabling "guided access" on the iPad, which is a way for parents to ensure kids stay focused on a single task rather than skipping from app to app -- and it can be used with any app! The other levels -- Function Junction, which introduces functions; Bugs Below, for debugging; and Fuzzy Fun, for nonprogramming-related play with colors and letters -- as well as the written curriculum for each, can be bought all together with the Pro version or individually as in-app purchases. Up to five users can have accounts on one device.
What kids can learn
Thinking & Reasoning
- applying information
- problem solving
- thinking critically
- using and applying technology
Engagement, Approach, Support
Fun, colorful characters draw kids in. Short challenges engage them and slowly build on difficulty and complexity, keeping them challenged but not overwhelmed.
The step-by-step sequencing kids must master for programming logic works in teaching it, too. Kids master sequencing, and then the next concept is introduced. Each builds on the prior, deepening their understanding of the concept.
Short videos show kids how to use each new concept as it's introduced. Kids can replay levels to improve scores (by using a more elegant, efficient solution). Excellent extensions are available in the parent/teacher portal.
What's it about?
The backstory, told through an intro video, is this: The Fuzz family crash-lands on planet Smeeborg and needs to explore the many mazes. To help them get through each maze and collect coins, kids use programming logic to drag and drop commands. They start off with blueFuzz but can unlock others, which is part of the fun. Kids play through one level at a time, unlocking the next as they go. (Parents with the Pro version can unlock manually.) Level 1 is Smeeborg, which introduces kids to solving problems with sequential steps, using if/then conditional statements and loop commands. Level 2 moves into functions, and Level 3 introduces debugging -- kids have to smash bugs using the commands they've learned.
Is it any good?
Gamified learning is a great approach for teaching the logic of programming. The story and characters are fun and colorful and will appeal to both boys and girls. What really sets KODABLE PRO apart from other early programming apps for little ones is the materials for parents. Programmer parents may not need the resources, but, for parents who need some help understanding loops and conditional clauses, the curriculum is a boon. The ideas on how to build programmer-thinking off-screen are nice, too. The free version, with the first lesson included, is a great start to introduce kids (and nonprogrammer parents) to the logic of programming. The pro version builds on that foundation, giving kids further exposure to the language and logic of programming.
Families can talk about...
Use the fuzzFamily Frenzy game for an off-screen family activity to build STEM skills.
Avoid negative statements like, "I never liked math and science in school," or referring to programming as nerdy.
Take advantage of the rich resources included for parents to understand what kids are doing and learning and enhance it.