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Pros: Great connection between code and hardware, easily switch from block- to text-based commands.
Cons: Must buy peripherals/hardware for most uses; core subject teachers may find it hard to integrate.
Bottom Line: Once you purchase the hardware, MakeCode opens doors to an incredible diversity of coding applications.
Microsoft MakeCode showcases the diverse application of computer coding. Where we often think of coding as being used to create apps, teachers can use MakeCode to show that code can be used to control hardware, for engineering, for art -- for almost anything. This makes MakeCode really well suited to robotics clubs, makerspaces, and science classes. This may make it less appealing for teachers trying to integrate elements of coding into things like ELA, social studies, and math.
The MakeCode site offers fairly extensive support materials for teachers and independent learners. There are projects of varying complexity as well as course materials to follow that offer a systematic introduction to coding concepts. Externally, there are also materials available for each peripheral device (like the micro:bit or Grove Zero) on YouTube, for students or teachers searching for additional ideas.
Microsoft MakeCode is undoubtedly a powerful tool for learning to code and for seeing the incredible range of applications for programming. A key role for K–12 educators is helping foster interest in coding among a diverse range of students. By seeing different ways that code is used, coding will ideally appeal to more types of students and encourage them to study and apply it. This makes MakeCode a valuable learning and teaching tool.