Curriculum | News

Palo Alto USD Adopts Online Programming Curriculum

Palo Alto Unified School District has recently gone public with its deployment of an online programming curriculum. Palo Alto decided to deploy Tynker district-wide "after observing that even teachers without coding experience were able to get up and running fast, and students were able to progress at their own pace," according to a news release.

Tynker provides courses designed to teach students in grades 3-12 to design their own animated stories, games and other projects and then publish them to the Web. Features of the courses include:

  • A visual programming system that allows users to snap code blocks together, eliminating the need for programming syntax;
  • Built-in tutoring;
  • Classroom management tools;
  • An automatic assessment tool that provides class assessment charts and performance reports for individual students; and
  • Teacher-controlled sharing via e-mail, Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

"Tynker has been widely adopted by our teachers because it is flexible enough to challenge 8th graders who are exploring fairly complex programming concepts, while also supporting students as young as five years old to successfully build simple programs," said Ann Dunkin, CTO of Palo Alto Unified, and a presidential nominee for a key post in the Obama Administration, in a prepared statement. "Many students who work with Tynker in our schools develop a real interest in computer science and engineering and will be prepared for our rigorous high school computer science program."

Other districts using Tynker include New York's Scarsdale Public School District and Minnesota's Minnetonka and Elk River Public School Districts, among others. More information about Tynker is available at

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at

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