We are now in the world bound into advanced leaps and high technology. Almost everything is being programmed through a computer. And the language that runs those things in a computer is called coding. Without it, the computer can’t carry out the command and perform the task. In simple words, coding is used by computers to understand our commands and process the requests.
Kids these days should have activities that would boost their interests and get rid of their boring moments. Having them learn from a workbook and a pencil is surely a losing bet. As they are now called the gadget generation, hitting their interest in computers and gadgets, would most likely be the most effective way to get them to enjoy and learn. It’s like hitting two birds with one stone.
We’ve listed below the best coding educational tools for K-12 students.
The business behind the Osmo brand is Tangible Play Inc. which was founded in 2013 by Pramod Sharma and Jerome Scholler. According to their site, “by 2014, the first three Osmo games, Newton, Tangram, and Words, were launched to universal praise from parents, educators, industry experts, and most importantly, with overwhelming support (and giggles) from our most challenging critics, children.”
Osmo coding starter kit is a hands-on coding adventure designed for 5-10 years old. They can learn coding as they connect colorful blocks of code in the physical world to chart the adventure on their screen. It is being offered at an affordable price of $76.74.
In order for it to work, you need to have a compatible device. It only works with iPad and Amazon Fire Tablets.
Osmo Coding Starter Kit introduces kids to coding block by block. Kids can progress from basic coding concepts to complex problem solving. With Osmo’s 3 major designed games, from basic level to advanced level, kids will learn coding basics, sequencing loops, creative coding, rhythm, harmony and melody, collaboration and team work and advanced problem solving. Teachers in schools can teach coding with this at an age-appropriate pace. They can start the adventure in Coding Awbie, create music with Coding Jam, and then show off their advanced skills in Coding Duo!
The team that brings this mini quadcopter into life is Robolink Inc. that was established in San Diego, California in 2012 to encourage students to engage with STEM. According to their website, “The world is becoming more technology-driven, so it’s increasingly important that we cultivate the next generation of innovators and inventors and make technology accessible to all.”
CoDrone Mini is the newest programmable drone of Robolink next to its siblings, CoDrone Pro and CoDrone Lite. It is a mini drone that can fit in the palm of your hand with a pocket-sized remote controller. It’s not just a toy but also an educational tool that can be programmed with Python (text-based coding) and Blockly (drag-and-drop coding). Your kids can have fun while learning to code. Learn to create their own drone adventures such as flips and perform acrobatics.
CoDrone Mini is safely designed for everyone, especially for kids. It’s durability ensures limitless fun. With some bumps and crash landings, CoDrone Mini would still work, best for younger ones.
Each CoDrone Mini includes:
1 CoDrone Mini remote
1 LiPo battery (battery life is approximately 5 minutes)
1 battery charger (average charging time is approximately 30 minutes)
1 USB cable
1 set of extra propellers
The individual kit costs $89.99 while the classroom set of 12 kits is at $1,025.00 with free 30-min Virtual Professional Development. Both offers can have access to their free online tutorials.
From the famous computer company that enables digital transformation, Microsoft, comes this free online learn-to-code platform that brings computer science to life with fun projects.
Teachers can use this tool to show the students to introduce coding for hardware control, engineering, art, etc. So this is best for robotics clubs, makerspaces and science classes. Teachers can start from the introductory courses or have students work on individual projects.
They provide you with step-by-step tutorials and skillmaps that walk you through fun projects while you learn new skills.
CodeMonkey was established in 2014 and they started their Coding adventure from there with their text-based coding game. In the same year, they partnered with Code.org. They continued launching different courses and tools such as Game Builder, Dodo Does Math, Banana Tales, CodeMonkey Jr. and Beaver Achiever.
As their mission statement says, “We aim to create an engaging platform where programming knowledge is acquired alongside 21st century skills through collaboratively playing and solving puzzles, inventing, creating and sharing.”
They offer text-based coding games, block-based coding courses and advanced coding and creation to K-8 schools. They have educational resources suitable for different grades and experience levels. It’s a great way to start students with coding.
Students will learn from the basics of coding with a progression of gaming challenges to learning Python and chatbot interface elements as they program a real chatbot to host a popular guessing game.
Their pricing for individuals and families start from $6 and $12, respectively. While school and district plans are being quoted through a form based on the information you will be providing them.
According to their website, Roblox is ranked as one of the top online entertainment platforms for audiences under the age of 18 based on average monthly visits and time spent. It is powered by a global community of millions of developers using Roblox Studio, their intuitive desktop design tool. It gives everyone the freedom to imagine, create and enjoy it with friends and family as users explore millions of immersive 3D experiences.
Players can get into it easily. You only need to download the Roblox software, create an account, click on any game you want to play, then start downloading, select Roblox and confirm. Once installed, you’ll be able to start playing. It is more than an online entertainment platform as it’s an educational tool that offers free software and curriculum to teach students of all ages computer science, digital citizenship, entrepreneurship, and more.
Just this year, they have started their Roblox Education that features an introduction to coding and game design, code fundamentals, etc. Their lesson plans are designed for educational programs of varying lengths and skill-levels to get things working well and fast in the classroom setup. They have courses and workshops that last from 2 hours to semester long learning programs.
Roblox is completely free to join and free to download.
Have you met Alexa, Siri or even used Google Maps? Yes, they are virtual assistants operated by a system. And that’s what artificial intelligence does for us! It is everywhere and would expand and improve more in the next generations. It is now being introduced as well in schools and as important as coding.
Zumi is the first educational self-driving car kit that teaches artificial intelligence from beginner programmers to robot enthusiasts. It is developed and manufactured by the same company who created the CoDrone Mini, Robolink, Inc. Artificial Intelligence is seen by everyone as complicated but Robolink turned it into something fun and approachable through Zumi.
Zumi learns as you learn. It allows you to configure her effortlessly with the help of Blockly, a block-based coding language. The company started a campaign for Zumi on Kickstarter that raised around $150k. She even won the Best Innovation Award in Robotics and Drone category in CES 2019. Zumi is best for ages 10+, grades 6-12.
This is suitable for classroom teaching as well. Teaching AI to students would be really challenging as the topics are complex. But with the company’s step-by-step tutorials and curriculum that can be accessed online for free, it wouldn’t be that hard for the teachers to introduce it as part of their curriculum in school. Students can learn about self-driving cars, artificial intelligence, robotics, machine learning, computer vision. Robolink also offers Professional Development for educators who want to get trained on how to use Zumi and in the classroom.
The Zumi kit is being offered at $179.99. A classroom set with 10 Zumis is offered to schools or academies to get some discounts at $1,699.99 with 30-min Virtual Professional Development.
Vidcode is for grades 3 and up who want to learn about coding. Unlike other coding companies, Vidcode is founded by three women who are mainly an engineer, an educator and an artist. They support schools, libraries and parents with their 300+ hours of online coding tutorials.
Students could learn coding video filters, video games, special effects, celebrity name generators, haunted houses, simulations and many more.
Their program has over 300 open-ended online coding tutorials, lesson plans, discussions, practice, assessments and project ideas.
This focuses on getting girls involved in computer programming through art videos and showing them different ways that technology can be applied in their lives and hobbies. Vidcode proves that technical skills can be used for a ton of things such as arts and fashion. These days, not boys should be learning coding and programming as it’s also important for girls to learn those because when you think of a coder or a computer person, you normally think of a guy but with Vidcode, it changes the stereotype and lets more women be prominent in the world of coding and programming.
Vidcode is a web-based application where teachers can teach student on how upload their own videos from Instagram or their own files by drag and drop different items and start interacting with the code as they write them, change them and see the real time effects that are made on the video such as filters, changing of motions, etc.
All of their coding tutorials are aligned with CSTA, K-12 pathway, Common Core Math, TEKS, AP Computer Science Principles, ISTE, UK CS, NGSS standards, and state-specific standards. They offer separate tools for teachers to lead discussions, presentations and unplugged activities outside of the tutorials.
They offer free activities for 10 hours when you set up your account. But pricing for the full course starts at $599 for a classroom.
Sphero was founded in 2010 with millions of students, 40,000+ educators, 20,000+ education institutions in 80 different countries. Their mission is to make undeniably cool, programmable robots and STEAM-based educational tools that transform the way kids learn, create, and invent through coding, science, music, and the arts.
Sphero Indi, a robot that is driven and programmed through color. It is the most approachable, entry-level, learning robot for kids ages 4+. indi inspires imaginative play-based learning by empowering kids to design and build their own mazes while teaching critical problem-solving and computational thinking skills. With its on-board color sensor and color tiles, Indi provides endless opportunities to rev kids’ creativity with or without the need of an app.
According to their website, Sphero is the #1 STEAM (STEM + Art) tool for hands-on, standards-aligned PK–12 learning. With the schools’ investment, they can access 1000s of free lessons and activities for computer science, science, math and more.
Sphero indi educational robot student kit is offered at $124.99 while the education robot class pack costs $1,199.99 which includes 8 indi robots, color tiles, storage, a charging case, and standards-aligned lesson plans in our indi Educator Guide Book.
Company behind ROBOTC is Robomatter, established in 2003 in order to bring Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) tools and solutions into the classroom.
ROBOTC is a text-based programming language based on the standard C programming language. It is good for educational robotics and competitions. C language is one of the most powerful computer languages being used on every computer platform and operating system.
You can program VEX Robotics, LEGO and Arduino with RobotC.
C is used to develop billions of dollars of application software worldwide, even the ones you use every day are derived from C programming language like Google, Mac OS, Oracle Adobe Acrobat, etc.
Students who learn in program C will be well equipped to translate their skills to other c-like languages. Learning C programming with ROBOTC opens up a world of opportunities.
Sumo Robot League
P4r75 is the owner and operator of the robotics company, Sumo Robot League. This league is being managed in partnership with HACK Augusta, a non-profit organization in downtown Augusta, Georgia. As the name suggests, robots are built and designed by students to compete in fully autonomous sumo wrestling competitions. Through the matches, students can learn and understand the true meaning of STEM that can help them in their future by getting them prepared as early as now.
They spent a lot of time developing affordable kits, programming classes, and even STEM Teacher Training camps to give students opportunities to learn coding and build a robot of their own.
They provide training , virtual support , a cloud platform and bulk discounts for robotics teams at an affordable price. Their 3-day teacher training and support program with 1 semester of weekly virtual support including a kit, textbook and spare parts is being offered at $750. While you can get the kit alone at $120.
They have different activities that students can do while learning the world of robotics and coding at school such as learning the speed of sound, rotational velocity and speed, timing and intervals and circumference with Dreidel Activity. With their Holly Jolly Robot activity, you can learn programming the buzzer, writing functions, reading from the distance sensor and blinking the LED. With Teacher Activity, you’ll learn the rules of Sumo Robot Competition, how to build a Sumo bot, Sumo bot code to blink the LED, attack objects and compete Sumo style and of course, basic troubleshooting.
Whether you are an individual starting with coding or already a robot enthusiast, a student or a teacher, a family or a school, learning with the best coding tools and curriculum can get you going, improve more and showcase your robotics skills. These are just a list of some companies offering the best coding educational tools for K-12 Schools. You might find more but these, by far, are the best in my list. I hope this helps you hype your interest in introducing your child to the fascinating world of computer science today.