Check out these inspiring spins on learning to code.
Coding is one of the most crowded categories in edtech. And while there are a ton of great tools for students of any ability level, many of these tools have hit on the same formula. So whether you're prepping for Hour of Code or looking to launch a coding unit or curriculum in your classroom, lab, or library, it's tough to find the right solution or even determine what separates one from another. Thankfully, there are a few developers out there breaking the mold and doing something different.
These developers are not just iterating on the tried-and-true coding formula but exploring new frontiers that offer students new ways to learn -- from VR and hardware hacking to on-the-go learning to courses and curriculum that blend technical skills with "soft" skills.
Hardware hacking: Pi-Top and Piper
Pi-Top and Piper both understand this, too, and have platforms that allow students -- much like a littleBits kit -- to assemble and modify modular computers that can then be used as coding platforms. On the coding side of things, Pi-Top has it own stylish game (CEED) students can use to learn about the basics of code, and Piper integrates with Minecraft.
Realistic, cross-disciplinary game design: Zulama
Zulama -- based on the successful college-level game design and development curriculum at Carnegie Mellon's Entertainment Technology Center -- effectively combines all these diverse skills into a truly comprehensive curriculum. Courses range in length and focus (from 3D modeling to the history of North American play and gaming), but all feature discussions, true PBL, assessments, and online and offline activities. Don't worry if all this seems intimidating: There are PD resources that promise to get any teacher up to speed.
On-the-go learning: Grasshopper
Virtual reality storytelling: CoSpaces
Top photo credit: courtesy of Allison Shelley/The Verbatim Agency for American Education: Images of Teachers and Students in Action