Common Sense Review
Updated November 2016

Kodable - K-5 Coding Curriculum for Elementary

Fun procedural reasoning for kids; great curriculum for teachers
Common Sense Rating 4
  • Students will get a glimpse of what code looks like as they play.
  • Levels can be replayed as necessary.
  • Students can access games on a device or the web.
  • Challenge students from kindergarten through fifth grade.
  • Step-by-step lesson plans help teachers learn along with kids.
Pros
Visual instructions and step-by-step levels make it possible for kids to learn programming concepts even before they learn to read.
Cons
A teacher's biggest challenge may be finding the time for students to discover all there is to learn and do.
Bottom Line
Kodable is a fun way for elementary school students to understand coding and contains impressive supports for teachers.
Amanda Bindel
Common Sense Reviewer
Classroom teacher
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 problems slowly build in difficulty and complexity, keeping students 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 to deepen their understanding.

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

Impressive resources prepare teachers to introduce kids to concepts that are new and unfamiliar to the teachers themselves. Activities can be done both on-screen and off.

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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, even importing class lists directly from Google Classroom. 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 feature also allows a limited number of classroom iPads to easily be shared by a larger number of kids. Students can access their accounts from devices or the web using their student codes.

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What's It Like?

Kodable introduces kids to some of the logical steps and concepts needed in computer programming, with a game-like environment that is designed to grow with them from grades K through 5. The games are set in outer space, and students advance through the game learning programming concepts as they play. Skills start with sequencing and advance to loops, conditions, functions, and variables and into object-oriented programming concepts like properties and classes.

The teacher curriculum includes videos to introduce the concepts and step-by-step lesson plans, including vocabulary and offscreen activities, to teach the concepts before students explore them through the on-screen games. Students can work at their own pace, replaying levels as necessary. In addition to the app, Kodable has identical versions on the web, as well as downloadable, offline offerings.

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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 included curriculum and teacher dashboard, though, make 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, but they get a glimpse of what it looks like as they play and are developing the logic and problem-solving skills necessary to succeed as programmers -- skills that will serve them well everywhere.

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