How I Use It
Tynker is a block-based programming tutorial and creation environment. Students can work through a series of engaging and fast-paced challenges that work to teach them the basics of coding . Students advance to more challenging activities all the while learning the various coding blocks that with prepare them to write their own program.
I have students start with the Crash Course, 18 lessons that build the basic concepts of block programming. When they have time or need a more engaging activity, they can switch to one of two free areas that have over 20 game like challenges for student to complete.
Then they are ready to head to the workshop where they can see an app demonstrated and then dig into the code to see how it was built. Once they understand what is already going on, they can edit the program to add additional commands or alter what the app does. The workshop includes many different projects in 12 different categories such as art, music, and physics, as well as projects that will allow students to design apps that can be used to control many popular connected toys. Once they are ready, they can select a blank project template to start programming from scratch.
Tynker is incredibly engaging for students. The game-like activities will engage students and enough activities are included to keep students occupied for many sessions. The ability to go to the workshop at anytime is nice because students may tired of the step-by-step tutorial activities. They will think they are ready to move on. Let them give it a try. Eventually, they will run into a wall as they try to add a new command. Guiding them back to the tutorials will show them that it is a building process.
The teacher features are nice, although I hope that eventually the web-based teacher dashboard and the tablet-based Tynker for Schools app will interface a bit more. I would love for students to complete teacher assigned lessons in the app.