For this activity I evaluated (read played with) some of the iPad apps that were publicized for Hour of Code. I specifically played with Kodable, Light Bot, and Hopscotch. After familiarizing myself with the apps I had the opportunity to use these apps with both 5th grade and 7th grade students.
Kodable was by far my favorite and the app that had the most crowd appeal. Colored fuzzies rolling around immediately caught everyone’s attention. Kodable provides levels of challenge that keep the students interested. As you completed a level the next level gets harder. There was never so much of a jump that students were stuck and unable to move to the next level. The 5th grade students generally needed a bit of hands on help understanding subroutines but a short explanation of the concept was generally all it took.
The puzzles in Lightbot were a bit more difficult for the students to wrap their head around right from the start. I recommended it to my students who were quickly proficient in Kodable. Like Kodable each level presented a unique challenge to be accomplished and students were so interested in moving up the levels they saw it as a game rather than a learning activity.
Hopscotch was a lot of fun for the kids but they didn’t seem to have the direction to push themselves to learn new things using Hopscotch.
Overall there is great value in all of these applications and I would suggest to any parent that they try one of these “Games” with their kids. They won’t even know they are learning.