Product Index
Curriculum Products
In Summit Reflections, educators review tools that they have seen at an EdSurge Tech for Schools Summit. Summit Reflections can only be completed onsite at the event; reviewers are incentivized to leave reviews.
Product Manager, School Type: Elementary School, Middle School, High School, Higher Education, Other
Oct 24, 2015

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: I'd use this to help my son learn basic logical argumentation/ how to think like a coder.

Strengths: Love the UX and the overall design aesthetic. Also love that the fact that it makes complicated skills/ thinking practicable via a clean drag-and-drop interface. Does a good job of distilling only the essentials into a format kids will love.

Suggestions for Improvement: I'd like to see more dynamism - reaction of the system to individual performance so that it unlocks advanced commands more quickly for high-achievers and allows a slower pace for younger kiddos. Also giving kids the ability to create their own levels would be a huge improvement - my kid loves anything he can create, especially if he can hand me a "challenge" that he made himself and say "bet you can't beat my new game!"

Verdict: We've used Robot Turtles before and had some success, but this seems to make the critical leap of taking that board game concept into a developmentally appropriate digital format. Love the UX and the kid-focused design (e.g. limited textual information, heavier reliance on graphics to communicate).

Music/Behavioral Therapist, School Type: Elementary School, Middle School, 1:1 Devices, Blended Learning
Oct 24, 2015

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: I would use this to teach coding, and to pair it with my own specific lesson plans to supplement learning.

Strengths: I like the usability and feasibility of the product. The product seems attractable and interesting to keep the students motivated and eager to use the application to learn how to do coding.

Suggestions for Improvement: Three things I would do to improve the product is provide instructional lessons on how to use the application for both students and educators and allow for educators to create their own lessons. I suggest making these improvements because it would help with better understanding and usability about how to navigate and use the application. Also, if you versify the product by enabling teachers to create their own curriculum, then you're expanding its usefulness.

Verdict: I would recommend this tool because it is fun and interactive tool that both students and educators can use at an affordable price per student in comparison to their direct competitors.

Technology Integration Specialist, School Type: Elementary School, Middle School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population
Oct 24, 2015

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: I would use this as a fun way to teach students to code. The character storyline will interest a lot of young students.

Strengths: This product is visually appealing and is really catered to young students. It was designed with a young audience in mind and does a good job of mixing high level skills into a student friendly interface.

Suggestions for Improvement: 1) Keep it free always.
2) Continue to work with educators to increase the instructional value of your product.
3) Introduce more characters to expand the play-life of the product.

Verdict: I would recommend this as a fun way to introduce coding to young students. There was clearly a lot of effort put in to creating a well-established app with an appearling storyline.

Shaina, Computer Teacher. School Type: Elementary School
Oct 24, 2015

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: I am a computer teacher and CS first would be good to use to introduce coding to my 4th-6th grade students.

Strengths: This product has video examples and is creative/enjoyable for its target students--upper elementary and middle school.

Suggestions for Improvement: I like the product the way it is, however, I wish it was advertised more openly to educators who feel intimidated when it comes to introducing computer science to their students.

Verdict: I would like to bring computer science into the classroom and expose my students to coding. CS first would be a great tool to introduce computer science to young students.

Tech Coach, School Type: Elementary School, Middle School, High School, High ELL Population, Blended Learning
Oct 24, 2015

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: Since this teaches coding skills but doesn't require a teacher around, it would be helpful for those days when a teacher is sick and we don't have content for the substitute to cover. Learning programming? Always a good alternative!

Strengths: A great GUI + block coding + easy to use for teachers who aren't tech savvy.

Suggestions for Improvement: Provide different challenges for each level (see the OCD challenges in World of Goo for a sample of what I mean) - this will let quicker students work through levels more.

Verdict: It's free, colorful, kids will really enjoy learning to program

Teacher, School Type: Elementary School, High ELL Population, Low Income Population
Oct 24, 2015

full starfull starfull starfull starno star Advocate

Usage: To have students learn coding

Strengths: It incorporates full stories and creativity into coding, rather than repetitive coding tasks.

Suggestions for Improvement: I hope this will be as good as it is said it will be. Since it has not rolled out yet, it is hard to know. Without it being available for student use, I would cautiously use it if it is free

Verdict: I hope this will be as good as it is said it will be. Since it has not rolled out yet, it is hard to know. Without it being available for student use, I would cautiously use it if it is free

Daniel, General Ed Teacher. School Type: Elementary School
Oct 24, 2015

full starfull starfull starno starno star Neutral

Usage: I would use this to introduce students to coding. We have access to a chromebook cart for my grade level and I would probably use this product once a week to help students familiarize themselves with basic computer functions and hopefully set them up for success with coding later.

Strengths: This product is a great starting point for young students interested in coding. It's visually appealing and interactive, and is game-based, which has worked well with other programs I've used with students in my classroom.

Suggestions for Improvement: I would like it to react to live performance, so that students who move quickly through steps can move onto more difficult tasks sooner. The gameplay should be differentiated for individual users based on their performance so that students who have mastered the basics don't get bored and check out because they are not being challenged.

From a social justice aspect, I think the avatar should be customizable. You're more likely to get buy-in from users if they are allowed to make the avatar look however they want, instead of a male avatar which may not appeal to every user.

I would also have some sort of sound aspect for users with low reading levels. If students cannot read the instructions because of their literacy level, they will not enjoy the game and want to continue playing it, or the teacher will have to walk them through each step.

Verdict: The presenter didn't exactly show how students would use it for coding, the first couple steps/moves just showed a drag and drop function which I feel most of my students have mastered already, so I'd be interested in a presentation that displays the coding aspect a little more in depth. However, the basicness of these beginning levels might be great for younger grades. The presenter said 2nd grade through 6th is their sweet spot.

Andrew, Kindergarten Teacher. School Type: Elementary School, High ELL Population
Oct 24, 2015

full starfull starfull starno starno star Neutral

Usage: I would use it by having students learn the basics of coding during choice time.

Strengths: I think this product does a great job at getting students to think in terms of coding without being boring or repetitive. This would help teachers enrich students who may otherwise not be exposed to educational activities like this.

Suggestions for Improvement: 1. have the directions clearer so that students know what they need to do.
2. Give some background for teachers about why students are doing these activities.
3. Create a character that could be a boy or a girl, science and coding should be accessible to both and having a boy character and girl character can facilitate this.

Verdict: I would tell them that it is a great way for students to begin thinking in terms of coding without explicitly teaching coding to them. I think students would find this engaging.

Teacher, School Type: Middle School
Oct 24, 2015

full starfull starfull starno starno star Neutral

Usage: This would be a nice platform to teach some coding and game design. It would be a way to start teaching that kind of curriculum content.

Strengths: It's engaging and fun for the kids to learn code by playing and making games. A lot isn't fully developed, so it would be great to see more.

Suggestions for Improvement: I would provide a teacher portal and curriculum content. I would develop more levels for users to start at. I would also have professional development to teachers to teach the content and outline all the skills being covered.

Verdict: It's an engaging way for kids to learn. There are other platforms out there that are better. There isn't much to distinguish core content at a grade level or skill, as it's all one game for now.

Carlos, Tech Educator. School Type: Elementary School, Middle School, 1:1 Devices
Oct 24, 2015

full starfull starfull starno starno star Neutral

Usage: Our School is a k-8 school.Our 7-8 program is a STEM program that focuses on technology. I would use this at the 6th grade level to introduce them to coding.
This would be a great tool to start planting the Programming seed in these young students.

Strengths: It shows the students the basic of coding.

Suggestions for Improvement: I would have them recommend it as a After school or during lunch club.
The program would be very difficult to implement in the class with other Curiculim.

Verdict: The reason why I would recommend this is because, the students would get a sample of what code is and how fun it can be. It would be a great way to see if the students are interested in coding and in the program.

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