Code Karts: Precoding for Preschoolers

images-11Code Karts by Edoki Academy is a coding app for preschoolers. For children that young, coding apps can teach them logical thinking as well as problem-solving skills. This app revolves around the idea of overcoming obstacles to win the race. It teaches the basics of sequencing, if-then statements, logical thinking and problem-solving skills through many levels of increasing difficulty. It is easy to play with such a young audience and it’s about race cars, a topic that many kids find exciting! The app has a free access that gives 10 free levels, and the paid option gives more than 70 levels with 2 modes: Individual and competitive. IMG_0050Simple Tutorials The app has simple tutorials in the beginning levels to help the kids with getting started. These tutorials use hand icons to show what to click to proceed further. This is helpful especially because a parent or teacher doesn’t need to sit with the students while they are playing the app, as the tutorials help them through it. For the first couple of levels, the corners show the color of the arrow that is needed. For example, you can see in the image that the corner shows blue color. This is because when the car reaches that corner, the blue colored up arrow is needed. This eventually gets removed in the later levels, as the kids would have gotten an understanding of the directions to use by then and they have to use systematic thinking to get the answer. Along with this, the app revolves around feedback. Every time the kids tap on the car, the app not only shows the car moving but also shows which arrow is activated to make the car move. For example, if the car turns left, then the app shows the left arrow activated on the screen. This makes is easier for young kids to understand sequencing, and helps them with debugging when the answer is incorrect. IMG_0055Logical Thinking and Problem Solving The app teaches about logical thinking through sequencing. As they progress through the different levels, they get harder and different concepts are introduced to challenge their logical thinking skills. As the level progresses, you’ll see that it looks like multiple options are available, but limited directions to pick from. So the players will find it more challenging to pick the right answer, which is the case during the later levels as the difficulty progresses. Kids control the car and make it move in the one of the 4 directions: up, down, left, right to reach the finish line. There will be times when the racetrack is complex and kids have to use multiple different blocks of directions to prevent the car from crashing. Even after the car crashes, kids get up to 3 chances before the level resets. This helps them with debugging and only changing the blocks that need to be changed. It is important to have a good balance of difficulty. This app does a great job with it! As the level progress, we see barriers, which prevents cars from going in that direction and makes them think harder with the sequence of directions they should use. You like to see cars jump? Well, this app makes it possible! The catapults makes the car jump from one track to another, adding a fun component to it. This also encourages the kids to think which direction the car will go in once it jumps to a different track. This helps with making the game more fun. IMG_0062If-Then Statements Eventually, switches are introduced! Switches are like if-then statements. If the car goes over a red switch, then the red colored gate will open up, allowing the car to pass through. I liked this concept the most in this app. Understanding if-then statements is a crucial part of programming, as understanding, every programming language includes understanding if-then statements and loops. This app uses one of those concepts and implements it in a way that would be really easy for kids to understand. It's like when a signal turns green, the car can go, or when the gate opens, we can go through. These are simple but important concepts to understand at a young age. IMG_0058Competitive Play Kids tend to learn more efficiently when they are competitive. This is why they love playing games with friends to see who wins. This app adds extra level of fun by adding a competitive component to it. They can play against the device and find the fastest route to the finish line. This mode is great as the kids can play against the app itself and assess how well they are doing with logical thinking and coding concepts like sequencing. In this mode, they come across oil spill on the tracks which slow down the cars, and speed ramps which make the cars go faster. As there are multiple directions for the cars to go in, kids have to figure out which would be the direction that would prevent them from going over the oil spills to finish first. Multiple Profiles It is always helpful when apps allow the creation of multiple profiles, right? This app allows creating multiple profiles, which makes it easier to play not only at home but also in classrooms. Parents and teachers can switch the profiles whenever needed and the app saves the progress of each profile. Different Languages This app can be played globally as it supports 24 different languages. This makes it easier for kids from different locations to play. The app itself doesn’t use text apart from numbers, which makes it easier for any child to play. The languages mainly come into play when the parents are creating profiles and reading parent’s guide. AAEAAQAAAAAAAApgAAAAJGMxMDIwZTk3LTE3NTYtNDJiMi04MjFmLWE0MjkxZmZiNTM3YQ-300x300Griva Patel is a currently pursuing Master of Entertainment Technology at Carnegie Mellon University.  With a team of 5 students, she is working on a project making an app that focuses on a rapid practice of addition and subtraction operators. This app involves fixing robots while doing math exercises. Griva is passionate about designing educational games and is an Intern for Teachers With Apps.
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