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Deliver solid content, crunch data with connected LMS/grading platform
Pros: Beyond the grading and reporting platform, there are useful instruction and assessment tools like wikis, flash cards, and quizzes.
Cons: Success hinges on consistent use from all stakeholders, and making the most of all the features can be overwhelming.
Bottom Line: With time-saving tools and accessible third-party content, this gradebook is a solid choice for its extensive, district-level features.
Fun graphic novel makes coding enticing for more students
Pros: Combines block-based coding challenges with a good story.
Cons: Relatively new product with limited offerings or extensions.
Bottom Line: A promising way to integrate basic coding into the ELA classroom.
Cool presentation tool lets students turn slides into video animations
Pros: Presentations look clean and professional and add an element of fun.
Cons: Presentations can be slow to load, and the ability to add images from Flickr and other online platforms may result in student access to inappropriate content.
Bottom Line: With guidance and oversight, students will have fun making creative video presentations, but more collaborative features and classroom support would help.
Bring code to life with circuits, robots, Minecraft, and more
Pros: Great connection between code and hardware, easily switch from block- to text-based commands.
[Puzzle App Teaches Coding & Challenges Learners]
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.
Summary: Popular games, big names get kids and teachers pumped to program
Pros: Focused and engaging activities allow students to work at their own pace and stay challenged.
Cons: Though there are tons of teacher resources, it'll take some time to figure out how to weave them into your class.
Bottom Line: A well-planned, -produced, and -curated set of free resources bound to get kids hooked on learning to code.
Summary: Complete and entertaining typing program for all ages
Pros: Thorough K-12 curriculum, attractive interface, and very powerful back end for teachers and admins.
Cons: Long list of lessons might intimidate some students, not designed for individual users.
Bottom Line: A perfect typing curriculum implementation for schools or districts.
Summary: Projects inspire creativity; a place for kids' sharing would boost fun
Pros: Clean design and sophisticated resources make for a unique collection of projects to get kids thinking and innovating.
Cons: An online community space where kids could share creative ideas would boost engagement, especially for older kids.
Bottom Line: A go-to site for teachers looking for well-presented project ideas; kids will need opportunities to share work locally.
Summary: Good stepping stone to LMS classes
Pros: This safe platform lets you and your students post, collaborate on, and annotate assignments, projects, quizzes, and other classroom work. It's FREE.
Cons: The parent view is not as full-featured as the student view, and teachers must monitor frequently.
Bottom Line: Make all your classroom communications digital and trackable, but be prepared to supervise.
Summary: Create and share apps even without coding experience
Pros: Scaffolded design process lets students create an app quickly.
Cons: Missing some needed teacher support materials, such as lesson plans and a dashboard.
Bottom Line: Create real-world apps right away and make ideas come to life.
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Valerie Bourbour is a certified educator and past Co-Director of The Academy of Ormond Beach. Ms. Bourbour has experience in online learning platforms and aims for student success.