by Maya Staresinic
With all of the talk surrounding coding, it seems as if teaching our students how to code has recently become viewed as good teaching practice. Although today’s modern students are more advanced in technology than students ever before, learning to code can be somewhat of a daunting task for them. This is where the app Lightbot : Code Hour comes in to save the day!
Lightbot is an introductory coding platform that uses simple click and drop coding blocks to teach students basic coding knowledge. Simply put, Lightbot will get your students hooked on coding as fast as they can say “computer science”! With Lightbot, students are prompted to complete programming puzzles that require them to use programming logic and to put forth their problem solving skills. The app can be used throughout a variety of grade levels, but our suggestion is to use Lightbot in the Primary grades to establish basic coding knowledge at a young age that can then be built off of.
The student’s goal is to move their Ligthbot character from the beginning of a puzzle to the end of the puzzle by providing their character with the proper commands. Students gain a practical understanding of basic concepts like instruction sequencing, procedures and loops, just by simply guiding their Lightbot character. The Lightbot character moves throughout the puzzle by moving along tiles. The puzzles start off with very basic movements; think move forward, turn left and turn right blocks. In order for the Lightbot to know that it has completed its journey, the student needs to make sure that there is an “end code” block, which is shown in the form of a light bulb. This coding block will make the Lightbot and tile light up in conjunction with one another when the level is successfully completed, hence the name “Lightbot”. As the coding puzzles progress, the app introduces the student to new coding blocks that enable the Lightbot to participate in more complex movements. Lightbot: Coding Hour offers students 20 levels to participate in and practice their coding. Once all 20 levels have been successfully completed, the student is awarded with a certificate of completion, which adds yet another element of fun to the app.
Lightbot is a great introductory app to start your students off on their lifelong coding adventure. It is a fun, interactive and coding centered app that will provide your students with the necessarily baseline skills to become avid coders.
Lightbot : Code Hour is free from the iTunes App store. Once students have completed all 20 levels, the Lightbot : Programming Puzzles app (which feature even more levels and challenges) can be purchased for $3.99. It can be played online and is compatible with iOS and Android systems.