How I Use It
CodeSpark Academy has to be one of the best coding apps for kids out on the market today! I've tried several different apps with my classes and noticed the students during Hour of Code and The Foos is the most popular of them all. This year I created accounts and started to use all the other features on CodeSpark and both the students and the teacher are big fans. The game is intuitive and even the youngest students can begin to learn how to code by watching and learning. I've given the classes access to Puzzles first and then opened up the other areas after discussing the elements in each. Overall, this is a high quality and highly engaging program.
Initially I used the site during my Hour of Code which was successful, but the students asked for more so this year I've created accounts in first and second grade classes and added it to their classroom iPads. The kids love it and there are many different areas and levels to discover which makes it interesting for much longer than some other games I've introduced. I love that users don't need to read yet to learn how to code. They can simply watch the demonstration and begin. I also like the animations themselves, they are very kid-friendly and feel like they are gaming when they are actually coding.
The one area I think might use some improvement is the hourly code activation and the character creation. Students who missed the lesson and didn't activate a device need to wait until I regenerate a new code which is inconvenient. A classroom code might be preferable. Another area that I'm confused by is the character/avatar login. Students have a multitude of choices for their character and the name which they truly enjoy, but we don't see the character again in the play area. It would be cute if they were in the game somehow. Also, passwords would be ideal. Some kids don't realize they are in their classmates account (especially if they are very young).
Overall though, I love CodeSpark and know that I will be including it in my teaching from now on!