Coding Unplugged (without a coding app)

Coding Unplugged (without a coding app)

Dear AppleEdu,

Thank you for your awesome work. At the end of last term Apple Education WA team visited Broome and ran workshops on Digital Technologies and Coding with Swift Playground. This little bit of inspiration and guidance was the confidence I needed prior to commencing my first stint as a Digital Technologies educator this term for Year 2 and 4. I ran a Code Club for 5-10 year olds last term and that made me very excited about the potential of coding to engage learners, prepare them for their futures and most importantly-teach them vital numeracy and literacy skills. When I was offered the chance to teach Digital Technologies one day a week I was so overjoyed about the chance to learn more and teach more students. One of the things I love most about coding is that it really forces you, as an educator, to adopt the Growth Mindset Principles that we often demand of our students- take a risk, try something new etc!

The Learn to Code 1 & 2 eBooks available on the iBooks store are an invaluable resource. They contain wonderful lesson ideas that I have customised to suit my cohort of students. The success of these lessons is measured by this: I have had every student on task, learning, having fun, the whole kit and caboodle for every lesson. I also rely heavily on the Scratch Jnr website and the curricular documents made available. Currently, I am customising their storytelling through Code to the current text focus in Year 2, Flat Stanley. I could not have done this without the fantastic resources made available, for free, by Scratch Jnr and Apple.

Lessons learnt (so far):

  • Coding doesn’t always need a computer.
  1. The important concepts of coding are best taught without a coding app. Understanding commands, sequences and debugging to name a few are best learnt without a device. We have had awesome lessons teaching these concepts. To learn about sequence (the order in which instructions are performed). All these tasks helped us to think like a computer.
    1. We read Goldilocks and drew events in the story and mixed up the sequence of events and then put it in the correct order to learn about sequencing.
    2. We hid objects and created videos with instructions on where to find the object.
    3. We gave each other instructions for simple tasks like crossing legs and putting on our shoes.

Sequencing Goldilocks and the Three Bears. We used the drawing tool in Note to create these images.

Working with a partner to provide the correct sequence of clear instructions to put on shoes. 

At the Apple Education PL in Broome sequencing the correct order for getting dressed.
  • Visual Programming Block Apps Rock!

    Tynker, Swift Playgrounds and Scratch Jnr are my go to apps. I love how students can see the script running as their characters perform the codes. This really helps students to see where the bugs are in their code.

  • Use a visual presentation¬†

    To introduce and review concepts. There is lots of new vocabulary when teaching coding. I create Keynote slides with new words, definitions, images of our activities for reflections, goals for each lesson and journal entry questions


  • Take screenshots and use those to add to a digital journal app such as, Seesaw.
  • Kids love being called coders. In fact, for my behaviour reward system I have called them Classy Coders, and, at their suggestion, those who need a reminder to stay on task are called Hackers!