Junior Coder - Visual programming games for kids
Junior Coder Visual Programming games for kids is a great application to introduce children from the aged of 9+ to computer coding and science.
The app introduces a number of levels that include basic programming operations that animate characters and graphics to perform simple operations. This is an exciting platform to introduce pupils to the techniques of basic programming, algorithmic thinking and sequencing. The app has several practice levels and in-app purchases for further learning.
Upon opening the application, the user is presented with a very appealing platform with some fun and exciting graphics. Please note that with the free version a number of options are locked and can be purchased through the parental control panel. We did find this a little frustrating as the options available for free and quite repetitive. There are a number of menu options in the top right hand corner that include basic instructions/introduction, sound control and an achievements award chart. We particularly liked the rewards chart that gives instant feedback to the students and enables the teacher to track progress throughout the levels.
Students can start the app using the ‘start’ icon in the bottom left of the screen. Here the user is shown a number of levels some of which are locked unless progress is made. The ‘algo jungle’ section requires the user to navigate the character through a step by step sequence. We like the ‘demo’ sequence here that provides some in-app instructions. The stage is initiated with some text to explain the scenario. Some of our users found this too text heavy and very often over looked this. The user moves the instruction blocks in the top left hand corner to the appropriate sequence. A simple drag and build operation is used here. The user can squeeze instructions in between others although we did note that when a sequence was wrong there was no way to reset or clear the sequence. A warning triangle appears is the sequence block is not locked in, some of our younger users found this quite difficult for fine motor skills. Pressing the green play button will move the character in accordance to the steps. If this was incorrect some of our users wanted to stop the animation only to find that it had to be played through. Once the sequence has been completed the level is scored out of 5 stars. We like the fact that an indication that more stars could have been won on a level is shown, this is great for further learning and extension tasks.
In the top right hand corner, the level displays further options such as a home button, a return button, an instructional help button with tips, sound control and the achievements button.
The second free coding level is called ‘Coder cove’. This introduces the user to directional codes such as left, right, up and down or north, south, east and west. We did find this level fairly easy although the graphics and sound are great. Again we found this level a little frustrating in that once the animation had started we could not stop and reset it if the code was wrong. The pace of the pirate was very slow and some users became bored. Once again there is a great option to design your own coded animation. It here that the app really comes into its own with features such as adding characters, backgrounds, obstacles and goals. This is excellent for teaching and learning and enables pupils to experiment and challenge peers.
The junior coder has an in-app purchase that has additional puzzles and games. Aside form the two main free levels there are other features that appear in the in-app purchases. These are pattern recognitions, professional programming, and conditional logic to control flow, problem solving and debugging and looping with repetition. Although the app is targeted at students above nine years of age these operations can challenge pupils who are much older. The company also has a very good website that supports teaching and learning and provides ideas for lesson planning.
Overall the app is a great way to introduce pupils into the practical applications of coding and sequencing. It is a shame that the free version is somewhat limited, however, this could be used to supplement classroom activities and the ability to design and create their own puzzles is a real added bonus that could see hours of challenging fun.
From the Developer
Junior Coder is an exciting new game that introduces kids to computer programming concepts!
Junior Coder uses games and puzzles to teach the basics of computer science. At the end of each game kids can create their own puzzles and challenge themselves or their friends. Learning by doing is the most effective way of learning. Junior Coder does just that. Each programming concept is introduced as a unique and fun game. Kids play 5 levels to grasp the idea and then they create similar puzzles to challenge themselves. By practicing this method it reinforces the concept that they learn. Games that teach algorithmic thinking and sequencing are available for free. Additional games available with in-app purchase.
# Algorithmic Thinking
# Sequencing skill
Additional Features with in-app purchase:
# Pattern Recognition
# Repetition and Looping
# Function and Procedural Thinking
# Control Flow Using Conditional Logic
# Debugging And Problem Solving
# Efficient Programming
This app is targeted at advancing education and is ideal for kids 7+ but anyone who can read and loves challenges can play. It starts off with simple sequential thinking and then moves on to more complicated concepts of looping, conditional flows, functions and optimal solutions.
The stellar award chart keeps track of the progress and motivates kids. Kids earn badges and medals as they complete each game. This app is suitable for classroom supplement and is great for Hour of Code.
Try Junior Coder for free and start learning computer programing concepts! For more information visit our website at http://nybleapps.com/