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Tynker Launches Cloud-Based Platform for Teaching Programming

Tynker has launched a new online learning platform designed to help elementary and middle school students learn computational thinking and programming skills in the classroom.

The Tynker Learning Platform does not require teachers to have any experience with programming. It includes prepackaged lesson plans, hands-free interactive tutorials, advanced lesson generation tools, and paperless workflow for assigning and grading programming projects, according to a news release from the company.

The self-paced digital curriculum features a built-in tutorial system that uses a "watch-learn-do" cycle to teach programming concepts to students. Students use a visual programming language, similar to modern programming languages, to develop animations and digital games, craft music, create e-books and fictional robots, and complete other programming projects.

Teachers can assign projects to students according to a customized lesson plan, and then students can work on them independently at school or at home. Students can view a library of sample projects and monitor their own progress through assignments. The platform also includes a secure messaging environment for communications between student and teacher.

Tynker is available in standard and premium editions. The standard edition is free for educators and includes a fully integrated development environment, classroom management, grading, and a starter pack of programming skills lessons.

Key features of Tynker Premium include:

  • Unlimited access to premium lesson plans and solution sets to teach skills such as animation, storytelling, game design, physics, math, art, and more;
  • A series of puzzles designed to teach programming concepts, as well as the ability to create custom puzzles;
  • Class assessment chart with a consolidated view of skills and concepts that have been taught;
  • Individual student performance reports;
  • Tynker Character Studio, which lets students draw and program their own characters, including animations for walking, talking, jumping, attacking, dancing, and other actions; and
  • Extended Media Library, which includes readily usable character animations, themed game sprite collections, and sound and music collections that students can use in their game designs.

Tynker piloted the Learning Platform in more than 20 elementary and middle schools. "During our Beta program, we saw tremendous pent-up demand for a STEM skills programming curriculum that is easy to learn for teachers and students alike," said Krishna Vedati, co-founder and CEO of Tynker, in a prepared statement.

"Tynker has brought a whole new world of computational thinking and programming experience to my classroom," said Jeanie Smith, computer instructor at Jordan Middle School, Palo Alto Unified School District, in a prepared statement. "Its beginning levels are basic enough to welcome all students to coding concepts, and its higher levels are sophisticated and complex enough to challenge and attract the most advanced programmers among my students. Students love the graphical interface and flexible capabilities.”

Tynker Learning Platform is available now for teachers and schools in the United States and Canada. Pricing for Tynker Premium is based on the number of seats purchased. Volume discounts are available for schools and school districts.

Further information about the Tynker Learning Platform can be found at tynker.com.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at [email protected].