Review Blog

Jul 16 2015

Computer coding for kids by Carol Vorderman

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Dorling Kindersley Ltd, 2014. ISBN 9781409347019
(Age: Primary - Adult) Recommended. Computer coding is an 'in thing'. It allows for computational thinking, gets kids engaged and according to a TED talk I watched last night is a great way to teach and visualize the bigger concepts in Math. In true DK publisher fashion, this book is bright colourful and simple to follow. With step by step instructions kids and adults alike can download free software and begin to create increasingly complex games and simulations on their computers.
Coding skills begin with a simple visual program called 'Scratch' where users click and drag blocks of coding information to control a sprite (character). There is a large array of tutorial exercises to get readers to progress and learn the basics and move on to more complex programming guided by the text.
After mastering the basics, users are then encouraged to progress to another program called Python. Python is what people might consider a more traditional form of coding, where users need to type in the directions and create their code to control various things. The book gives a very handy table comparing the code in Scratch to that in Python.
This book is described as a 'simple visual guide to get kids computer coding in no time.' I definitely agree with this. However I think they are missing the broader audience of teachers who are grappling with the new Digital Technologies curriculum too. The easy to understand explanations of computer systems and networks are a great foundation of knowledge to begin teaching in this area for those who don't know where to start.
I would recommend this book not only for keen students and children who wanted to explore coding, but also those adults out there who want a simple and easy to understand explanation of the computer world.
Zana Thiele

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