Playing with CodeMonkey

How did you spend your Monday?

Mine started normally and ended with an obsession.

As per my normal routine, I’m doing some reading and checking of email.  Twitter sends a message in the middle of the night when I have a new follower.  It turned out that today was one of those days.  There was a new follower CodeMonkey Studios.  That didn’t surprise me – I’ve had a number of Computer Science types following ever since I posted my Hour of Code 2014 resources.  It’s probably someone related to one of the resources.

It turns out that, once again, I was wrong.  It wasn’t.

I checked the Twitter page and it was a startup based in Tel Aviv. Judging by the low number of follows and followers, it’s a relatively new startup.  Or, at least new to Twitter.  Anyone who promotes Computer Science gets a thumbs up from me.  They could use more followers so now I’m one of them.

Then I made my big mistake.

I decided to check out their website.  

I was hooked.

It was a really nice variation on a theme.  

Many of the applications for introductory program are based on the logo turtle concept.  Even at that presentation, there sometimes is a challenging entry point.  You have to understand the concept of the stage, the mathematics of location, movement, etc. before you even get started.

In the case of CodeMonkey, they’ve take more of a challenge / gamification approach.

Yes, you work directly with code instructions like STEP and TURN but they’re done in the context of solving a problem.  The video above gives a nice description of how you or your students work within the environment.

As with many of my obsessions with coding and Computer Science, it’s just plain fun.  Stepping back for a moment, I had to reflect on the fact that they’ve introduced the concept of coding and problem solving in a very non-threatening manner.  I was quite impressed.

There are three levels of engagement with the product – Home, Teacher, and School.  I think that this product is something that OSAPAC should consider licensing for the province.  It has that much potential.  It’s not a wide open development space but, with the big interest in coding, it could be extremely helpful for teachers and students alike trying to get started.

Needless to say, I’ve added CodeMonkey to my Hour of Code 2014 resources.  

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