Learn to Code

Barbara J. Feldman

In celebration of Hour of Code, this week’s roundup is a collection of websites where kids of all ages can be introduced to computer programming. Hour of Code is a campaign created by Code.org to introduce 10 million students to programming. Dozens of sites created tutorials for Hour of Code. Here are my picks.

  • Grok Learning: Hour of Code5 stars

    "Use the programming language Python to build a chatbot called 'Eliza.' Can she fool your friends into thinking she's a human not a computer?" This is just one of three one-hour Python courses offered by Grok Learning for Hour of Code. Grok Learning also offers the first two modules of their paid online classes for free, if you want to continue your coding education.

  • Learn to Code: Hour of Code5 stars

    Watch the two-minute intro video, and you'll be ready to start programming a game snippet (right in your browser) with Blockly. Blockly is a visual programming language where you drag and drop colorful code blocks, instead of actually typing out code. Your first task is to get an Angry Bird through a maze to reach the Green Pig. It should take you about an hour to complete all twenty puzzles. Inspired to learn more? Click the Learn Online button for the free K-8 Intro to Computer Science class.

  • Light-bot: Hour of Code5 stars

    Light-bot is a mobile app that teaches basic programming principles in a "super unintimidating" puzzle game. "Light-bot lets players gain a practical understanding of basic control-flow concepts like procedures, loops, and conditionals, just by guiding a robot with commands to light up tiles and solve levels." Their Hour of Code contribution is a game that can be played in a browser or as a mobile app.

  • Make Games with Us: Build an iOS Game in Your Browser5 stars

    "This tutorial is going to teach you how to make your first iPhone game! Your game will be written in Objective-C, the language that is used to write all native iPhone apps. You will be using a game engine called Cocos2D that is very popular in the game industry." And all this is done in a browser with an embedded text editor and a Run command that emulates the iPhone environment. Pretty cool!

  • Thinkersmith's Unplugged Hour of Code5 stars

    "In order to accomplish a task, a robot needs to have a series of instructions (sometimes called an algorithm) that it can run. Today we are going to learn what it takes to make that happen." Look at this! You don't even need a computer to learn programming basics. In this activity (for early elementary grades) you can do an Hour of Code with paper cups and few friends. Watch the introductory video, then download the PDF for complete instructions for recreating this unplugged activity at home or in a classroom.

  • Honorable Mentions

    The following links are either new discoveries or sites that didn't make it into my newspaper column because of space constraints. Enjoy!


    Cite This Page

  • Feldman, Barbara. "Learn to Code." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 17 Dec. 2013. Web. 29 Aug. 2014. <http://www.surfnetkids.com/resources/learn-to-code/ >.


  • About This Page

  • By . Originally published December 17, 2013. Last modified March 8, 2014.

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