The TiE session on lego robotics included discussion of programing with lego and with Code.org. I have tried code.org before but decided to try the Hour of Code activity.
The current activity uses the characters from Frozen as ice-skating sprites that the user must program to skate in certain patterns.
High-level programming gives quick results
Artwork/characters are a draw
Functions introduced sequentially and with purpose
interface is very similar to Scratch, which is a commonly used educational language
Sandbox round at the end
emphasis on the ‘one right way’
programming may be too ‘high level’ as artwork, sound effects, and animation are handled by the engine.
The language/interface appears to be specifically created for this game- does not teach a commonly used language
after completion, it is not clear where to go next
I think the the biggest thing that could be done to improve this tutorial is to follow it up by taking you to a fully-functional interface and providing the code written earlier so that you do not just have to remember how you did something to make it again. Most obviously- the game could use actual blocks from Scratch and at the end you could be directed straight to a Scratch project containing all of the solutions from the game. It would be necessary to break down some of the functions to do this but it would allow the student to continue on the same path.