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Learning to code in a fun way

  5th April, 2017 By An Coppens

In one of my previous blogs I am sure I mentioned I am on a mission to learn to code and I am dipping my toes into a variety of languages. Yesterday I bumped into an iPad based course for Apple’s Swift coding. I thought whilst it was on iPad, it would be a good second screen activity after work. Well I got so engrossed that the first screen became my iPad.

Effectively the whole learning experience promises to teach anyone from 13 to 103 to code for apps in swift. You are invited to download playgrounds and then select the level you are at and start playing. Check it out on this link: https://www.apple.com/swift/playgrounds/

Immediately you are given a few basic concepts with hooks back to things you already know. From a learning perspectives this enables you think that you may actually understand these concepts. Then after a few basics it asks you to take a coding challenge and there are a few to choose from. I took “Hour of code” to find out what I could achieve in an hour. Much to my pleasant surprise I was able to complete each step of the challenge with relative ease.

The screen was on one side split with instruction and on the other side you saw Byte and animated character in a virtual world collecting gems on your written commands. There was just enough instruction to teach me the basics, so I could try for myself. Then on the play side, it tells you that it is normal to not have it fully correct first time and you can try as often as you need to, to get Byte to move the right way. The feedback of whether your code worked was effectively if the game played out the way you were asked to design it. I had a few iterations and then worked it out.

It did require a bit of thinking through at times, yet it was enjoyable to see your progress. This morning I happened to show my partner and I was surprised how easily I remembered the steps and how I could now flawlessly pass through the levels. So obviously my iterations with feedback and also embedded the learning. Last night I did wonder if the information would then stick and it did, much to my delight. So guess what break time will be about for the rest of this week?

How is this gamification? Well first of all it is structured as a challenge or quest, the feedback is in the running of your code game. Each level builds on the previous, so you do realise a sense of progression and achievement when you work your way through.

Let me know your examples of great learning.

 

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