Another dot in the blogosphere?

Recipes for coding?

Posted on: August 8, 2016

A few months ago, Google announced Project Bloks, a hardware platform “for kids (and curious) adults to learn the principles of code”.

Video source

A few days ago, Glico, makers of Pocky, announced Glicode, a platform that “that gets kids coding by having them arrange actual cookies and snacks, then snapping a photo to translate them into digital command”.

Video source

Unlike the blocks, kids can eat their Pocky coding creations and mistakes.

The efforts are admirable since they appeal to the touch and taste of kids. However, a critical question remains, and it applies to any creative efforts at introductory coding or even computational thinking (if you do not know the difference between the two, read this).

Are the kids following recipes or are they making their own?

The teaching response is: The kids must be taught the basics and the “right” way to think and code.

The learning responses are questions: Why do I need to learn this? What problem is there to solve? What can I make? Why am I doing this again?

We need both approaches. The teaching response is organised, efficient, and the go-to method. The learning response is often messy, ignored, or forgotten. We do too much of the former and too little of the latter.

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