Common Sense Review
Updated September 2013


Fun procedural reasoning for kids; great curriculum ideas for teachers
Common Sense Rating 4
  • A common interface for students and teachers makes device sharing a snap.
  • Programming with functions shows kids how to work efficiently.
  • Kids learn about conditional statements.
  • Bugs must be elminated for code to work effectively.
  • Improved teacher tools make creating and managing classes easy.
Visual instructions and step-by-step levels make it possible for kids to learn programming concepts even before they learn to read.
Less about programming than you might expect.
Bottom Line
Kodable is a fun way for kids to explore STEM.
David Thomas
Common Sense Reviewer
Director of academic technology
Common Sense Rating 4
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 4

Fun, colorful characters draw kids in. Short challenges engage them and slowly build on difficulty and complexity, keeping them challenged but usually not overwhelmed.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 4

The step-by-step sequencing kids must master for programming logic works in teaching it, too. Kids master sequencing, and then the next concept is introduced. Each builds on the prior, deepening their understanding of the concept.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 5

Short videos show kids how to use each new concept as it's introduced. Kids can replay levels to improve scores (by using a more elegant, efficient solution). Excellent extensions are available in the parent/teacher portal.

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How Can Teachers Use It?

Kodable is a great exercise for teaching kids to think logically and learn to sequence, or work through problems step by step. This sort of procedural literacy builds an appetite and background for later computer programming learning. Teachers can load up to three classes of 50 students each. And the included management tools make it easy to track student progress, unlock difficult levels, and even log in as a student to help them with a particularly tricky puzzle. This features also allows a limited number of classroom iPads to easily be shared by a larger number of kids. 

The lesson plans available in the Parent/Teacher Portal include activities that get kids moving while teaching the concepts. To teach sequencing, for example, the lesson plan has kids "program" a partner to complete an obstacle course, writing out a step-by-step code for them to follow. Teachers can use the lesson plans to teach the concepts to kids and then give kids time to work independently in the app.

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What's It Like?

Kodable introduces kids some of the logical steps and concepts needed in computer programming. The backstory introduces the Fuzz family as they crash-land on planet Smeeborg. Here they need to explore the many mazes and collect coins. Kids guide the Fuzzes through mazes dragging and dropping simple commands—move up, down, left and right. Each level reinforces previous concepts and adds new features along the way, such as loops and simple functions. Kids unlock new levels by successfully guiding their creatures through the levels while teachers can manually unlock levels as needed. Smeeborg introduces kids to the step-by-step instructions involved in guiding the Fuzzes through the maze, if/then statements, and loops. The Function Junction section introduces functions while Bugs Below lets players practice debugging the “code”; Fuzzy Fun provides non-programming-related play with colors and letters. Each section includes a written lesson plan for those levels, instructions for an off-screen game to play with kids to introduce programming and logic. 

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Is It Good For Learning?

Content-wise, Kodable is similar to other introductory programming logic apps like Move the Turtle and My Robot Friend, teaching sequencing and concepts like conditional clauses and functions. The story is fun, and the design is colorful and engaging. The included curriculum, though, makes Kodable stellar. Teachers often worry about how they can teach a concept like computer programming if they don't fully understand it, themselves. The included curriculum makes that easy. You'll learn the lingo along with the kids if you don't already know it. Remember, kids aren't learning to write code just yet. They are developing the logic and problem-solving skills necessary to succeed as programmers -- skills that will serve them well everywhere.

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