SO YOU WANT ONLINE CODING TOOLS...
Here is a list of free (or in some cases, “free trial”) tools that you can use if you wish to learn programming on your own. They are organized into arbitrary “levels” in order to help you determine where you might want to start, based on experience.
Level 1 (Beginner, never really tried to code)
Level 2 (Done some basic block-based coding)
- Move away from block-based to actual code with Alice 2 (free), CodeCombat (free trial) and CodeHS (purchase required).
Level 3 (Ready to start creating apps)
- Alice 3 (free) is an upgrade from Alice 2. You can also try your hand at MIT App Inventor (free) to start creating your own apps!
Level 4 (Looking to code with actual languages like Python)
- Processing (free) is a software sketchbook, and great for creating cool art and graphics. Greenfoot (free) and BlueJ (free) are also great free coding platforms.
- What about going straight for a language that our own Google engineers use? Try a hand at Python. Check out these two online textbooks—Invent with Python and A Byte of Python.
- There are also other websites with huge collections of computer science courses worth checking out, including CodeHS, Coursera, Udacity, and Code Academy. These cover artificial intelligence, machine learning, and more.
SO YOU WANT CREATIVE TOOLS...
If you’re the type who is looking to get a bit more creative and experimental with your code this summer – here is a list of tools you can use to develop video games, graphics, 3D designs, music, and more. Most of these are free to use, while others have free trials.
For those who love creating games:
For those into computer graphics, design, and art:
SO YOU WANT TO GET YOUR HANDS DIRTY WITH PHYSICAL COMPUTING...
Check out the following list of tools for students interested in building computers, robots, gadgets, and so forth (not all are free, but all are helpful).
- If you want to start off with the basics, littleBits are kits filled with electronic building blocks to create cool projects and small networks of circuits.
- Use Arduinos or Raspberry Pis to build DIY computer programs. Or, go for a full Kano kit to build a full computer, which includes a Raspberry Pi, a wireless keyboard, and a speaker.
- Want to make a banana play a song when you peel it open? Check out MakeyMakeys – kits that allow you to connect typical, everyday objects to computer programs.
- Last, but not least, if you’re looking for project ideas to work on with your Kano kits, MakeyMakeys, or Arduino boards, Instructables is a website filled with DIY project suggestions and a community of students who love to create.
LOOKING FOR MORE?
We’ve got plenty more tidbits and recommendations for computer science education. Interested in learning more from the Code Next lab? Sign up for our free newsletter—and happy coding!