Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Coding for Kids with Bitsbox

We've been using Code.org resources and blockly type coding since the first Hour of Code. Recently, we started looking into text based programs. Our tech class tried Code Academy's tutorial on Javascript. It's great but then we found Bitsbox! (Bitsbox is a subscription service, but there are many free options starting at https://bitsbox.com/hoc2015.html)

Kids type real Javascript in Bitsbox to create apps from the book, then they change it to make it their own. I love that accurate keyboarding, spelling, and punctuation are reinforced to make the apps work. It's a huge motivation for kids to check their work. If it's not right, the app won't work.
Here's fun simple app bitsbox.com/run.html?b18v3

It also has free lesson plans for teachers to use in most content areas. There is a teacher page with great info. https://bitsbox.com/teachers/

Here's an app they can write to practice their math facts bitsbox.com/run.html?xxdr6

Here is the lesson plan from their website  https://bitsbox.com/pdf/hoc2015/BitsboxLessonPlan2015_Math3-5.pdf

Another thing that I've found is that the company is very responsive. They reply to tweets and emails, help with questions about the apps, and go above and beyond in many ways.

One cool thing was when we were doing a Saturday Codeathon. I wanted a short, fun keynote for the kids and contacted Christie at Bitsbox to see if someone there would do a virtual hangout with us. Next thing I knew their CEO, Scott Lininger, said he'd love to do it. (My lame attempt to record the hangout with my phone https://youtu.be/a7OqJwJ-1g ) They also sent us a box full of fun give away items for the kids in attendance. Super fun! Thanks Bitsbox. We are hooked!

If you do decide to try it out, we would appreciate it if you would use our link. We get credit toward  our next subscription for our class and you get one free Bitsbox.  https://bitsbox.cratejoy.com/refer/Lauri-NQGTWKES