Tag: hour of code

The Easiest No-coding Way to Build an Education App

What could be more organic during Hour of Code than creating your own app? There are a lot of ways to do that, often expensive, time-consuming, and coding-intensive. There’s a new online option available that’s none of those. In fact, it’s intuitive, uses tools you already know, and–dare I say?–fun. Check out Jotform Apps:

***

You may know Jotform as one of the most popular tools in the form builder category, recognized for its versatility, ease-of-use, and sophistication in what could otherwise be the complicated process of collecting and analyzing data. Jotform works on all platforms (including tablets, desktop computers, and smartphones) and can be shared via a link, QR Code, and embed (as well as other options).

Over the past several years, JotForm has released many apps designed to simplify and automate teaching’s more mundane tasks (Smart PDF Forms, a PDF Editor, Cards, Tables, Approvals, and Reports–click for my reviews).  I’m excited to partner with them for their latest release, Jotform Apps.

Jotform Apps is a web-based tool that enables you to create a professional-looking cross-platform app quickly and with no knowledge of coding. It can include forms, links, widgets, text, images, videos, a photo gallery, PDFs, calendars, maps, interactive pieces, and more. Thanks to drag-and-drop modality, it can be customized to your needs and branded to fit your class or school. Once you’ve completed the app, it can be downloaded onto any smartphone, tablet, or computer, shared to your social media, or pushed out via a link or QR code.

Best of all, Jotform Apps is free with any JotForm account.

If you already have a Jotform account, you will find Jotform Apps in the grid on the upper left corner where you find your other Jotform tools–My Forms, My Tables, My Reports, My Approvals. It has been automatically added for you–no need to do anything. If you don’t have an account, click here and sign up for free.

Creating an app is as simple as three easy steps:

You can start from scratch or pick from over 200 thematic templates organized by category and topic. Here are some of the education selections:

Once you select your layout, the app can be personalized with a massive number of elements including forms, links, buttons, maps, reports, and image sliders. Most allow for additional tweaking such as these below:

Education templates include a parent portal, request forms for tutoring, classroom management, class sign-up forms, a reading log, teacher observations, homework management, and more. Here’s a Classroom Management app I created in about ten minutes (well, maybe a few minutes more because I checked out most of the widgets):

When done, you can share the link or publish a QR code for easy access:

QR Code for Classroom Management App

The web offers a wide variety of app builders so why choose this one from Jotform? Most teachers say it is the multitude of options and features. Here are the most popular ones:

  1. It’s drag-and-drop, a process you’re familiar with that means no coding required.
  2. Over 200 Jotform Apps templates are available–all you do is replace the placesavers with your pieces.
  3. It includes popular elements that supply most of what you want in an education app.
  4. Besides the elements, there are over seventy additional widgets that provide more flexibility to meet your needs–options like videos, social media links, PDFs, tables, reports, and QR codes.
  5. Templates are customizable which makes building an app for your specific purpose easy.
  6. You can create an app with a form you’ve already created in Jotform.
  7. Multiple pages are easy to add.
  8. You can receive payments from any device. This is great for class registrations, summer programs, afterschool classes, tutoring, and much more.

There are so many ways Jotform Apps can streamline school activities. Here are some favorites, many of them easily created with the free templates on the Jotform Apps website:

To stay in touch with parents–provide them with an easy place to find all of the important information, forms, links, resources they’ll require during the school year

To sign parents up for conferences–schedule yearly parent-teacher or individual meetings

For tutoring–track students involved in afterschool tutoring, their schedules, requests, and more

For school scheduling–create a personalized schedule of classes, sports, group meetings, and more; great for students

For classroom management–track classroom attendance, report incidents, monitor student progress, and more

For a reading Log–track student reading during the school year either in-class or for fun; monitor and review assigned reading, take questions; it even includes a digital signature form for parent sign off 

For teacher observations–make it easy to evaluate teachers, mentor, and provide feedback 

To manage homework–submit homework, upload documents, and see which assignments may be missing

Respond to student help requests–request help, schedule time, explain what is needed, and more

Place QR codes outside the classroom when class may be in session, completed for the day, or the teacher isn’t available–a quick way for parents to sign up for conferences, students for tutoring, helpers for class events, and more

Curious? Here’s an under-five-minute video:

***

Hard to believe? Check out Jotform Apps to create a customized app that requires no coding or prior experience. Find out what everyone is talking about.

–JotForm is an AATT partner but the opinions are my own.


Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-12 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, contributor to NEA Today, and author of the tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.

Coding Websites/Webtools by Grade

 

Over the next week, I’ll share ideas that will get you ready for your Hour of Code. This includes (links won’t work until the articles are posted):

  1. Hour of Code? Here’s why you should participate
  2. Long list of websites by grade
  3. 15 Unusual Projects
  4. The Easiest No-coding Way to Build an Education App

This is a long list of online activities related to coding and programming. It is updated once a year so I apologize in advance for any dead links. At any time during the year, click to take you to the master list.

Program on computers, iPads, laptops–whatever works, whatever age. I’ll start this list with web-based options, by grade level and then continue with a mash-up:

Kindergarten

1st grade

2nd grade

3rd grade

4th grade

5th grade

MS

HS

Build an App

  1. Apps Geyser
  2. App Inventor–build Android apps on a smartphones; from MIT
  3. Game Salad
  4. Glide–create an app from a spreadsheet
  5. Jotform App Builder
  6. Metaverse–create apps using Metaverse’s AR platform
  7. Thunkable

Coding Curriculum

  1. C-STEM Studio–download to teach computers, science, technology, engineering and math with robotics
  2. Code Academy
  3. Coursera
  4. Everyone Can Code–from Apple
  5. Free Code Camp
  6. Google Computer Science for High School–free workshops (with application) for K-12 teachers
  7. Learn to Code (for free)
  8. PluralSight
  9. Ted-ED Think Like A Coder–a 10-episode cartoon-based series to teach kids about coding in a game format
  10. Tree House

Hour of Code

Miscellaneous

  1. Animatron–design and publish animated and interactive content that plays everywhere, from desktop computers to mobile devices.
  2. Basics of Coding–from AT&T
  3. BeeBop–based on the Beebop floor robot–free
  4. BotLogic–great for Kindergarten and youngers
  5. BrainPop coding games
  6. Build a website–a guide
  7. Cargo-Bot—logic iPad gamecoding
  8. Cato’s Hike (K+)
  9. Chrome Experiments–geeky experimentation with programming
  10. Codea (Perfect for Intermediate+)
  11. Code.org–learn to code; with teacher accounts, no student emails required (join with Join code)
  12. Codespace–coding curriculum
  13. Daisy the Dinosaur—intro to programming
  14. Edabit–learn to code with interactive challenges
  15. Foos–app or desktop; K-1
  16. Grasshopper–coding app for beginners with lesson tutorials; intuitive
  17. Hopscotch (for up to intermediate–more complicated that Kodable)
  18. Hummingbird Robotics
  19. I like programming video
  20. Kodable-great for K-2–learn to code before you can read
  21. Kodu—game programming
  22. KOOV–by Sony Education
  23. Learn to code
  24. LightBot Jr.–programming for six-year olds
  25. Lightbot–solving puzzles with programming; MS
  26. Minecraft coding mod
  27. Move the Turtle–programming via iPad for middle school
  28. Osmo Coding--a purchased game system to teach coding
  29. Pencil Code
  30. Pyonkee–free, a little glitchy
  31. Robby Leonardi–programmer–a game played about programming in the style of Mario
  32. Roboblockly–to teach coding and math, from UCDavis
  33. ScratchJr--for ages 5-7
  34. Stencyl–build games without coding with downloaded software
  35. Stickman–draw a stick figure and the site animates it
  36. Swift Playground–from Apple, includes lessons and challenges designed to teach kids to code
  37. Symbaloo collection for coding
  38. TED Talk on young programmers
  39. Which Language Should You Learn to Code–an infographic of options

Robotics

  1. C-STEM Studio
  2. Cue–from Wonder Workshop
  3. Dash and Dot — from Wonder Workshop–younger thinkers
  4. Drones
  5. Mebo
  6. Robot Don
  7. Sphero

Scratch

Click for an Hour of Code lesson plan bundle (K-8).

Click for Robotics 101 lesson plan.

Windows apps

  1. CodeWriter 
  2. HTML Programs

More on Hour of Code

6 Unplugged Activities for Hour of Code

Build Your Own Apps

Build Websites

Hour of Code–Is it the right choice?

Kid-created Games That Teach

Looking for a Class Robot? Try Robo Wunderkind

Minecraft Review

PrimoToys–unplugged programming for youngers

Root Robotics–Great Way to Extend Hour of Code

Scratch Jr.

Should Coding be a Part of the Modern School’s Curriculum?

Websites and Apps to Support Hour of Code

Why Should Students Learn Computer Science? A Teacher’s Perspective

Wonder Workshop’s Amazing Dash

@CSEdWeek #hourofcode #hoc #edtech


Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-12 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, contributor to NEA Today, and author of the tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.

6 Unplugged Activities for Hour of Code

Hour of Code–December 7th-12, 2020–is a time when teachers show students why they should love-not-fear coding and students find out that these activities — often seen as geeky or impossible — aren’t. They’re actually fun.

Over the next week, I’ll share ideas that will get you ready for your Hour of Code. This includes (links won’t work until the articles are posted):

***

These suggestions go back to the roots of coding. The idea started as a clever way to teach students to think critically and problem-solve. The easiest way was to gamify coding, put students on a digital device they loved, and set them free. One hour, according to Hour of Code, would show them that deep thinking was fun and problem-solving was exhilarating.

I happen to agree. Some of my most gratifying moments are when I accomplish the impossible, unravel a Mobius Strip-like problem, or force myself to do what I’ve never before done. Hour of Code does that every year for oh many students. But here’s my issue: Too often, kids forget that the goal is to practice critical thinking and problem solving, not pursue a career in programming.

Let’s reinforce that goal by stepping away from digital device, recognize that these skills — critical thinking and problem-solving — apply to any part of life, even without a computer, iPad, or smartphone in hand. All kids need is their brain which happily, every child carries with them.

Here are some of my favorite unplugged activities:

Crazy Circuits With Squishy Circuits

I admit, when I first received this kit, I didn’t get the name–Crazy Circuits with Squishy Circuits. I couldn’t get my brain around all those words until I unwrapped the box and pulled the parts out. Then I got it: This had a ton of promise. If you’ve ever made Play Dough at home or in science class and used it as conductors and insulators–that’s the squishy part. When you poke circuits that light up or run motors or a bunch of other stuff into the dough–that’s the crazy part. With this relatively inexpensive kit, a wide age range of students learn about seemingly complicated topics such as insulators, conductors, resistance, and parallel and series circuits.

This is ready to go out of the box which means no soldering required.

How to Use it

The Crazy Circuits With Squishy Circuits kit includes six containers of colored squishy dough–some conductive and some insulating–and a variety of Crazy Circuits Chips. You don’t have to make anything or buy anything else. Detailed directions, project guides, educational resources, and videos can be found online in the Ward’s Science database. Crazy Circuits are compatible with LEGO™ and similar brick building systems.

If you’re wondering how squishy dough can conduct electricity, watch this 4-minute TED Talk. Though the video shows how to make the dough, you don’t have to do that. Ward’s Science sends it as part of the kit. You just attach the circuits, motors, and conductors, and let your creativity flow:

(more…)

Coding Websites/Webtools by Grade

Over the next week, I’ll share ideas that will get you ready for your Hour of Code. This includes (links won’t work until the articles are posted):

This is a long list of online activities related to coding and programming. It is updated once a year so I apologize in advance for any dead links. At any time during the year, click to take you to the master list:

Program on computers, iPads, laptops–whatever works, whatever age. I’ll start this list with web-based options, by grade level and then continue with a mash-up:

(more…)

Should Coding be a Part of the Modern School’s Curriculum?

As educators struggle with the best way to teach critical thinking and problem solving, coding has proven to be an effective and flexible tool. Is it time to add ‘coding’ to the essential subjects taught at every school? Here’s a thoughtful addition to that conversation:

Should Coding be a Part of the Modern School’s Curriculum?

There’s no denying that coding is now regarded as an essential ability for learners. While most parents agree that it should be part of the modern school’s program, only a small percentage (about 40% of schools) teach coding. The number one reason cited by superintendents and principals for not offering this integral computer skill is time scarcity. They argue that the teaching focus needs to be on core subjects, which are often measured by standardized tests. But, should coding be taught in schools from an early age. Here’s what you need to know. Before we dive in too deep, let’s first understand what coding is like for kids.

How Does Coding for Kids Work?

Coding basically refers to giving instructions to the computer to obtain certain results, such as video games, apps, websites, and computer software. Although producing these results using computer programming isn’t an easy feat, coding is super simplified for kids. There are plenty of easy ways to teach kids how to code, such as using the fun hour of the code activities that are available online. As the name suggests, these activities only take one hour and give kids an excellent opportunity to learn necessary computer programming skills.

(more…)

4 Unplugged Activities for Hour of Code

Hour of Code is a time when teachers show students why they should love-not-fear coding and students find out that these activities — often seen as geeky or impossible — aren’t. They’re actually fun.

Every year in preparation for December, I post lots of coding activities that students can complete with their computers, on the Internet, or using iPads, but this year, I want to do something different. Let’s go back to the roots of coding. The idea started as a clever way to teach students to think critically and problem-solve. The easiest way was to gamify coding, put students on a digital device they loved, and set them free. One hour, according to Hour of Code, would show them that deep thinking was fun and problem-solving was exhilarating.

I happen to agree. Some of my most gratifying moments are when I accomplish the impossible, unravel a Mobius Strip-like problem, or force myself to do what I’ve never before done. Hour of Code does that every year for oh many students. But here’s my issue: Too often, kids forget that the goal is to practice critical thinking and problem solving, not pursue a career in programming.

This year, I want to reinforce that goal by stepping away from technology. I want students to recognize that these skills — critical thinking and problem-solving — apply to any part of life, even without a computer, iPad, or smartphone in hand. All kids need is their brain which happily, every child carries with them.

Here are some of my favorite unplugged activities:

(more…)

Hour of Code: How Students Can Build Their Own Apps

In my high school teacher forums, as part of the discussion on preparing kids for college and career, we talk a lot about the huge shortfall in applicants for a growing list of tech jobs. Despite robust pay, excellent work conditions, and the value they place on creativity, jobs sit open. How do we get kids excited about careers that traditionally sound boring and math-oriented? Websites like Code.org have a great approach to making coding accessible to all kids but still, too few students think they are smart enough to do these jobs.

Time to reveal a secret I learned over the years. When I let students play Minecraft, Scratch, or a handful of other top-notch games, they eagerly — even happily — complete the programming and coding parts without ever considering it “math” or “smart”. I’ve seen them spend hours building a virtual world exactly the way they want it without getting bored or distracted.

By High School, the choice between college and career is foremost with life-changing consequences based on what the student decides. Often the choice depends upon the student’s goals. This topic could fill volumes but today, I want to focus on the job of building apps. App Developer is listed as number three on ThinkAdvisor’s list of the best jobs of the future, with a projected growth of 57% through 2020 (according to the BLS). You can also check Andromo which is an excellent platform to build a no code application. There aren’t a lot of jobs where people can make money doing what they love.

Aside from future jobs, there are great reasons why even kids who want to become doctors or lawyers (or farmers) would benefit from learning the lesson of app building:

  • Apps teach real-world skills like design, marketing, video production, project management, presentation skills, and special media use.
  • The app building process requires creativity, innovation, critical thinking, and problem-solving — all fundamental to success in lots of jobs.
  • Good app developers are collaborators, willing to work with others to ensure the app is accomplished on time and according to specs.
  • Good app developers are decision makers, not afraid to be risk-takers in building something no one has done before.

As I dug into the background of “app building” to prepare this article, I found that it doesn’t just refer to the little buttons you click to see about today’s weather or add numbers or find your friends (well, find their phones). App developers are the first ones who try out the latest trendy devices. Wouldn’t you love to experiment with 5G on your smartphone or play with Samsung’s foldable phone? Or how about wearable devices like the embedded chips intended to replace employee cards? An app developer used all of these before they ever went on sale. App developers can work for software companies, retailers, in healthcare, in the travel industry, for the entertainment industry, or in financial services. CNN Money has called “app developer” the best job in America.

Once you’ve explained to students what it really means to be on the cutting edge of the high-tech world, let them try one (or more) of these six great app creation tools:

  • App Inventor (from MIT)
  • Code HS (an app building curriculum)
  • Glide (how to create apps from spreadsheets)
  • MAD-learn (a beginning to end app development program for K-12)
  • Thunkable (a curriculum)
  • TinyTap (geared for teachers but fine for the right student group)

(more…)