Teacher Review for Microsoft MakeCode

MS MakeCode and Maker MakeCode and Hardware

Frank S.
Other
Reeds Spring
Reeds Spring, United States
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My Grades 5
My Subjects Science
My Rating
Learning Scores
Engagement
Pedagogy
Support
My Students Liked It Yes
My Students Learned Yes
I Would Recommend It Yes
Setup Time Less than 5 minutes
Great for Creation
Further application
Homework
Individual
Knowledge gain
Practice
Small group
Student-driven work
Teacher-led lessons
Whole class
Great with Advanced learners
General
Low literacy
How I Use It
I have created a YouTube Channel called "MakeCode and Hardware" and a Reddit discussion community : r/MakeCode (you may find it under r/programming on Reddit). MakeCode works with Chromebooks ! Unlike most apps. or extensions, MakeCode does work off-line on a Chromebook. There are many learning pieces of hardware such as Arduino Zero and the BrainPad product which are NOT shown on the MS MakeCode site but do use the system including the on-screen simulator for that product. For example: a $28 multi-function BrainPad can be used to teach a classroom full of students about color mixing or musical notes and their basis in Hertz for the Arts part of STEAM and all the students in the classroom can experiment with the simulator and their computers (Chromebooks if that's what they use) and then be taught to download their coded project into the one, Teacher's BrainPad. This applies to about a dozen other pieces of teaching hardware, all costing less than $30, some a cheap as $8.95--Adafruit Trinket M0. There is NO purchase of a Google Extension (40 cents per month per computer) as required to use Arduino Create Web Editor if you are using Arduino based hardware and the Chrome OS. There is a growing MakeCode community, John Park "MakeCode Minute" on YouTube appears to be employed by Adafruit to promote their Circuit Playgound Express and MakeCode.
My Take
Overall, this is an amazing product made by a major player in the computing and STEAM educational industry: Microsoft. Many electronics engineers are designing educational products to use MakeCode. Do search for Maker MakeCode to see the additional boards supported besides the ones on the MakeCode site. https://maker.makecode.com/#editor . We will be using this to teach basic electronics using solderless tie-hole breadboards (plastic blocks) and jumper wires and components (push button, buzzer, LED light bulb et.) Also, there is a MakeCode community on both the Github repository, Adafruit discussion forum and BrainPad at GHI electronics forum for more teacher support. I am involved in the afterschool program of Boys and Girls Club in our public schools. Lastly, please, please keep in mind that MakeCode is a JavaScript based system. There are two tabs shown on the monitor screen ; one for the block coding and a second one showing the text code in Java. Older students can actually see their text code change as they move blocks around by switching between tabs. Also, I have found that as I change coding in the Java tab (color code from RED to PURPLE or music note to be played in Hz. ) the blocks change instantly to reflect these changes and therefore the simulator also changes. I believe Java is used for web site construction among other uses so parents will realize that their student is learning real life knowledge assets using MakeCode. I will answer any questions (if I have the answers) asked by anyone if you visit the above discussion groups or my MakeCode and Hardware YouTube Channel.