CodeMonkey Releases its First Math & Coding Courses!

CodeMonkey just released its very first Math and Coding Courses!

Dodo Does Math is CodeMonkey’s all new game-based platform for students to learn and practice math! With the same easy-to use interface enjoyed in CodeMonkey’s Coding Adventure, Dodo Does Math consists of three courses, with 20 challenges per course. In these challenges, students get to improve their math skills with exciting new characters, features and challenges.

The objective of the courses is for students to use math and coding to help the Dodo get to the eggs. In Dodo Does Math: Distances, students practice distances with an interactive platform where they add, subtract and measure using a life-like ruler. In Does Does Math: Angles, students use a life-like protractor to measure angles. This course incorporates writing real code as users need to add angles and distances together to help get the dodo to the eggs. The third courses, Dodo Does Math: Multiplication, helps students practice the fundamentals of multiplication. Like the previous courses, students will gain knowledge through cumulative practice in 20 constructive challenges.

Dodo Does Math is suited for second to fourth Graders and adheres to the Common Core Math Standards Alignment.

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3 Reasons Autistic Children Excel at Computer Programming

CodeMonkey has seen vast success with its autistic users and according to the information below, it is no surprise why. Those with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are naturals when it comes to technology usage and computer programming. Read on to learn 3 reasons why autistic children excel at computer programming.

Computer Programming is…

  1. Logical

Most of the time, students with autism are better at mathematics than those without ASD. This is because their thinking style tends to be very logical. Another field that calls for logic is computer science. Since Autistic children typically have a more dominant left side of the brain, they are naturally drawn to computer science, specifically writing code. As a result, Autistic students have a higher chance at excelling in jobs that require precision and repetition – such as updating databases, coding, and analytics.

  1. Predictable

Students with autism prefer the type of work where they organize and gather large amounts of data that will yield predictable results. People with autism value the increased control over their interactions that is afforded by the filter of a computer screen. Covering large amounts of information as well as working with predictable outcomes, calms people with ASD down. Since computer programming is predictable and logical, autistic students are not left with uncertainties, can de-stress and out-perform the average individual.

  1. Visual

Children with Autism are very visual learners. Since Computer Programming contains a lot of visual information, Autistic children process computer programming more easily than their non-Autistic counterparts.

A very useful tool in transforming daily tasks into more visual and understandable ones, is the iPad. The iPad has played a huge part in helping society deliver a visual platform to Autistic students that drastically helps them on a daily basis. Students with Autism use iPads to complete daily tasks, such as brushing one’s teeth, more easily. One great iPad app is CommunicoTool, a language and development app that gives a voice to children with speech disorders, such as ASD.

Technology immerses us everywhere we go. For Autistic students to be able to understand the mechanisms behind computers paves the way for them to have pleasant social interactions and to better adjust to society. Technology not only helps those with ASD find a common ground with other children and relate to them, but increasingly becomes an outlet in which Autistic students can shine.

Meet the Teacher: Brandon Pisacrita

Brandon Pisacrita

2nd Grade Teacher

Stemley Road Elementary School, Talladega, AL

It’s important to me that my students know that they are valued.

“I decided to become a teacher because of the influence of my fourth grade teacher.  She taught me the curriculum, but what stood out was the way she made me feel.  She truly loved me.  I made a vow to myself to be that example for children.

What an opportunity we have as educators to be connected in a variety of ways in the 21st century.  Twitter is very helpful.  I enjoy connecting with educators because I love to learn.  I love to see what works for others; ultimately, this online collaboration can connect us to classrooms around the world!

I can see growth happening daily.

Working with children changes my perspective on the world because I can see growth happening daily.  I love their ideas, their thinking and their hope for change.  It is exciting to encourage these students to makes their ideas and thinking a reality.  I feel that spurring children on to achieve these goals helps in contributing to the betterment of society.

Introducing new technology can be intimidating.  Be willing to try.  Be willing to ask for help.  Be willing to allow mistakes to happen. Be willing to allow students to help you.”

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Meet the Game Builder: Fayue

Fayue L., 10

Chao Chun Center Primary School

Shanghai, China

I am 10 years old, and my family and I live in Shanghai, China. We are big fans of Chinese acrobatics, bowl balancing is one of our favorites. I learned to code at a coding class in xSTEM EdFun, Shanghai. While I was thinking about what game I would create, I started to imagine what it would be like if I can get my monkey to do the same acrobatic balancing through the code I learned. During one of the xSTEM coding sessions, I discussed with my teachers, and they said it was a great idea and why not let’s try. After a few trial and errors, my monkey really did it. It was really exciting when I showed my classmates what my monkey could do.

At xSTEM, my classmates and I enjoyed the CodeMonkey class a lot, and we had a lot of fun while using code to get our monkey to eat bananas. We first learned the CodeMonkey basic activities (Coding Adventure) and then we learned not only how to create shared challenges but also to design new games (Game Builder).

I just learned to use Game Builder in CodeMonkey a week ago. Since then, I have created two games using what I have learned and there is one more still under creation. The first game I created only took me about 10 minutes to make the main function work. Then I worked with my teacher, where we debugged and tuned for cases I didn’t discover. It is really exciting to see a game created in such a short time. For more complex ones, it can take 30 minutes or more. Also, while creating the game, my classmates helped me come up with ideas and additional features to cover. I feel very excited and proud to discuss with my friends how to make my game better.

Being able to design and build my own games makes me feel WOW. I can use code to do so many things I never imagined. Using my computer I can not only make games, but I can use what I learned to make my classmates feel happy and excited. My family is really proud of what I can do and am creating. It is really fun to learn how to code, don’t be shy, and don’t hesitate. It is really fun and exciting to be able to use code to create games, it is really not hard – create one whenever you can ☺.

Stop just playing games, let’s create one.

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Click here to play Fayue’s Flying Banana Game!

Fayue is a student at xSTEM facility in Shanghai, China. xSTEM is dedicated to partner with world kid coding leaders and to become the best CS-STEM activity center in China. Chris Chen, founder of xSTEM, is former VP Engineering of Education Fist (EF Labs). At EF, he and his team built EF’s Efekta and global classroom core products globally. As a dedication into the front tier of education, Chris started xSTEM CodeFun studio about 2 years ago, and dedicated in prompting early coding activities for kids from 5 – 16 years old in Shanghai, China. xSTEM hosts hour of code activities weekly, and the CodeFun courses are very loved by students, and students even designed the T-shirts of CM to wear the love.

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3 Updates to Your Teacher’s Dashboard

This past August 2017, CodeMonkey introduced changes to the Teacher Dashboard so that teachers now have more options on how they can manage their classrooms on CodeMonkey.

Teachers, read on to learn about 3 updates to your teacher’s dashboard.

1. You Can Now Assign Courses to Your Classroom

Previously, students automatically had access to all the courses included in your subscription. Now, you are granted greater control over your classroom since you get to manually assign and revoke access to courses and activities to students.

Part 1 of the Coding Adventure as well as Hour of Code Game Design courses have been assigned to students by default. Also, any courses students were on prior to the changes, were auto-assigned to them.

Take Note: Courses students have not yet reached need to be manually assigned to them or else they will be locked out.

To do so, go to your classrooms and click on the class you want to assign a course to. Then, click on the courses tab and the Assign to Class button. Courses can only be assigned to whole classrooms and not individual students.

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2. Showroom

The Showroom section is where you can view and manage student creations (i.e. games & challenges). To access the Showroom, go to a classroom and click on the Showroom tab. You can then easily find student creations and show them to the entire class.

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3. Improved Layout and Access for Existing Features

The Progress and Gradebook pages now have a section where you can choose which course to view individually. With these updates, progress is now available for the Game Builder Courses and you can view progress for each part of the Coding Adventure separately. With the improvements, you can now also limit progress in the Game Builder Courses.
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Meet the Teacher: Nathan Keel

Meet Nathan Keel!

A 6th and 9-12th Grade Business and Technology  Teacher from Bryan Middle/High School in Bryan, Ohio

“I decided to become a teacher when I was a junior in high school. I really enjoyed learning when I was in school, mostly due to the teachers that I had. Classes like math, science, social studies, business, and marketing were enjoyable not just because I had an interest in them to begin with, but I also had teachers that made the material jump out and make connections with the material that were meaningful. As I started to think about what I wanted to study in college, I thought about the impact that teachers have had on my life and I wanted to live a life and work in a career to impact students in the same way.

I would certainly consider myself a connected educator on a few different levels. I think being an educator that teaches subjects like business and technology, I try to tie in examples from what is currently happening in the world right now and apply them to the different lessons that I teach whether it be in marketing, personal finance, video production, or entrepreneurship. I also believe a connected educator is one that connects with other educators to form a professional learning community. I am a one man department in my high school so I collaborate with other business teachers that I have met during college and attend professional development conferences on a yearly basis to gather resources and tools to help me reach my students. I also think that social media is a great way to get connected. There are many other teachers out there just like myself that are looking for fun ways to teach different topics or advice on how to handle different situations.

Working with children has absolutely changed my perspective on the world. Adults have the benefit of having different life experiences and hindsight when it comes to their world views and problem solving. I think as adults it’s easy to get lost in the fact that we were all teenagers and young adults before and our ideas, values, and perspectives have changed because of the experiences we have been through.

Our values and beliefs are created through the environment we grew up in and the experiences we have encountered. I think it is our job as educators to help foster a positive environment for our students to show them what is important. This can be as easy as having a conversation about their future or just asking a student how their day was going.

Everyday in the classroom is something different from the day before. Kids never stop surprising me with the things they say or do. That’s what makes it enjoyable.

It’s important to me that my students develop critical thinking and problem solving skills that go beyond the classroom. I realize that not all students that take my class are going to be interested in the course, but I think that it is important for them to find value in different subjects. The most common question I get as a teacher is “when will I ever use this?” Instead, my hope is that students see each subject in school as pieces to a puzzle. Each class teaches students a different way to think. Some might use more of the right brain, some use more of the left brain, some require a process, some require the students to come up with different solutions to the same problem.

Embrace technology. If you really want to connect with your students and engage your students in a meaningful way, technology is the way it’s done. Students are sponges when it comes to new technologies and can even help you learn how to use it. If you have hesitations, I think the best thing to do is sit down with your students and set expectations. I would also suggest all educators to attend professional developments or just ask other teachers in your building how they use technology and incorporate it slowly.

I am lucky enough to work in a district that provides its own professional development in educational technologies to its teachers.”

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Meet the Game Builder: Roi

Meet Roi, a talented 10 year-old game designer from South Carolina. So far, Roi has built 7 of his very own games, each packed with tricky levels and fun characters. His game Junglemania 2, Awesomeness Stage is similar to CodeMonkey’s Platformer Course, yet it is full of its own unique surprises that Roi creatively thought up.

“I thought about games that I know and like, and decided to try to modify and combine them. The Game Design Course was really fun and cool. I was really excited to learn how a fun game actually works. [On average, it takes me] about an hour and a half [to build a game].

[Being able to design and build my own games makes me] proud that I can create a program that I can play with. If you’re creating a game and you get stuck, don’t just keep doing the same thing. Take a break, do something else, and try again a couple of hours later, or the next day.”

Click here to play Roi’s game!

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Meet the Game Builder: Erez

Being able to design and build my own game makes me…

satisfied

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Erez B., our very first feature in the Meet the Game Builder column, can proudly say that at just 13-years-old he has crafted his very own, intermediate-level game. Don’t believe it? Try his game for yourself. To better understand what the process is like, Erez shares his story on how he was inspired to create his very own game.

“I was inspired by platformers such as Mario, Crash Bandicoot and Rayman in the making of my game. I enjoyed [building games] so much that I didn’t go to sleep until I completed the Game Design course. For now, I made only one game of which I worked on for several hours. It takes me at least an hour and a half to complete building a game because I invest a lot of time while planning my games. [To those who have not yet created their own games,] make what your mind and heart tells you to make and don’t listen to anyone’s suggestions if you are making a level alone.”

NYC Tech Summit

On July 26th, CodeMonkey attended the NYC Tech Summit, presented by the NYCDOE Division of Instructional and Information Technology. Unlike other past conventions CodeMonkey has attended, NYC Tech Summit was held at a local High School. The High School, LaGuardia, was large enough to host the 2,500 educators and administrators who came to the successful event from surrounding areas. The conference was 8 hours long and lasted 7:45 until 3:45.

As a sponsor, CodeMonkey had its own booth to meet and greet attendees. Director of Sales, Kurt Allen, attended with his 17 year-old daughter, who discussed her experiences with the CodeMonkey platform from a teenager’s perspective. According to her, CodeMonkey is easy to use yet simultaneously succeeds in challenging students her age. The way that it starts off easy, but progressively increases in level of difficulty, keeps students engaged and makes them want to complete the challenges even more.

In the meantime, coding workshops were held by teachers, who demoed different coding resources to use in the classroom. NYC Tech Summit’s exhibitors and visitors got to meet new people involved in EdTech and learn of  the top resources in the industry. Attendees left with a feeling of excitement, as well as a little bit of information overload.

NEW: ‘Meet the Game Builder’ Column

Calling on all game builders

There is nothing we love more than exploring and playing new games – so meeting the faces behind our favorite creations is an opportunity we wouldn’t want to miss.

Have you created your very own games on CodeMonkey’s Game Builder? If so, what’s your story? Who or what was behind your inspiration? We are starting a very new column, Meet the Game Builder, under our blog and would love to feature you!

Parents, teachers, and students – are you or someone you know a game builder? If so, let us know at info@cm-studios.com and get your very own post!

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