codeSpark is a learn-to-code app that teaches computer science fundamentals and basic coding concepts to children aged 5 to 9. To entertain and educate the young, codeSpark uses interactive games such as puzzles, coding challenges, and creative tools.
Let’s have a closer look at codeSpark’s backstory and learning methodology.
How codeSpark App Began
Grant Hosford, a co-founder and General Manager of codeSpark at BEGiN, started to work on the codeSpark app in 2013. He was inspired by his young daughters’ curiosity about how computers work. “I wanted my own kids to look at devices like the iPhone and see them as a thing that they could use for problem-solving, not as something that spits information at them,” shares Hosford.
Hosford was passionate with teaching young kids about computer science and software from a very early age: “In my mind, there was no reason we couldn’t do that the way we do literacy and math, for example. Break down the concepts into bite-size chunks and make those chunks age-relevant and have fun with it.”
In 2014, Hosford met his co-founder Joe Shochet, who had 20 years of experience building award-winning games for kids. They launched codeSpark the same year. “If I only get a kid to think ‘coding is interesting, and it’s for me,’ we win,” says Hosford.
So far since its inception, codeSpark has strived to encourage kids to learn to code by igniting their interest in computer science and making the learning process fun. With this mission, codeSpark has also made computer science—a field that’s been traditionally dominated by men—more accessible to female learners, with girls making up 51 percent of its global users.
codeSpark is an award-winning, word-free app that makes kids’ introduction to programming fun and engaging. With codeSpark, your child can play and learn essential coding concepts at the same time.Sign up for a free trial!
What Makes codeSpark Learning Methodology Unique?
Hosford believes there is a lot of misunderstanding about coding and approaches to teaching it. “The more complex the topic, the more the reason for breaking it down and starting kids at a younger age, so they can feel a sense of mastery and gain confidence in that subject along the way. If you drop an 18-year-old into a sophisticated coding class, 90 percent of those 18-year-olds are going to bounce off,” he says.
codeSpark is designed to teach young kids how to code, without them realizing that they are learning. This learn-to-code app lets kids ace skills such as pattern recognition, sequencing, loops, and conditionals. Below are the features that make the codeSpark learning methodology stand out.
Mastery Method Approach
“We’re going down to the basics and then building that foundation really slowly in a way that totally makes sense for kids,” says Hosford. Breaking complex, fundamental concepts into easy-to-understand parts helps children gain confidence in their skills and become better coders. It’s also a great way of showing kids the value of logical thinking.
codeSpark uses the mastery method approach in the puzzles section of the app. Before kids unlock puzzles, they must finish all the smaller puzzles that come before. The specific coding skills learned will help them solve future challenges. It’s a process that prevents kids from missing out on essential lessons.
Gamification of Learning
The vibrant world of the codeSpark app is full of cartoon characters, amusing music, and sound effects, motivating kids to learn by incorporating game elements into learning environments. The best part is over 10,000 games and interactive activities are uploaded to codeSpark monthly, leaving no shortage of fun and learning opportunities.
As a part of the game in codeSpark, kids have to master manual commands before they could access code snippets. Shortcuts like these help them understand that coding makes life easier and more efficient. Kids also get rewards and prizes for efficient code and are encouraged to think thoroughly to advance in the app curriculum.
The word-free design of the codeSpark app allows kids to learn to code without knowing how to read. Instead of written instructions, the app leverages interactive tutorials via real-time, on-screen demos accompanied by spoken descriptions of each command. It makes the app more accessible, especially to 5-year-olds who are likely just starting to learn their ABCs.
codeSpark promotes independence and problem solving through its word-free interface. Most youngsters have no trouble navigating the game and figuring out what to do. Hosford states that “there are zero problems with teaching [young kids] these [coding] concepts. And in fact, they learn it much more quickly than adults do…Kids are learning machines. They are born to learn”.
Fun Learning Experience
Hosford claims that the learning process for kids should be fun: “If you lecture at [kids] for an hour when they’re five years old, they will not like that. If you allow them to build their own video games and share that game with their friend and then talk about the choices they made in building it, they will do that for days.”
codeSpark encourages imaginative expiration by allowing its young users to create their own original characters, called Foo. They can learn to program them to collect balloons, run, leap, and toss things at each other while assisting them in navigating different obstacles.
In some codeSpark coding challenges such as Splash Clash Multiplayer Coding, kids can play against other players or the computer. They can even play games created by their peers. codeSpark values the safety of children and doesn’t allow them to put any personal information on the app. There are also no chats.
Discover the Coder in Your Child with codeSpark
codeSpark’s creators believe that the more complex the concepts are, the earlier children should be introduced to them to give them enough time for mastery. The question is: How do you make your five-year-old interested in such a complex subject as coding? codeSpark accomplishes this in a fun and efficient way.
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