Imagine Learning Debuts Imagine Robotify Coding Course for Eighth Graders
- By Kate Lucariello
Imagine Learning (IL) has announced a course specifically to teach eighth grade students how to code by controlling a browser-based virtual robot, without the need for expensive hardware or software. The course, part of IL's Imagine Robotify program, is called "Flex's Rescue Training." It's an advanced Python coding course designed to prepare middle school students for computer science credits required for graduation in a growing number of high schools.
The course aligns with Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) standards. It features over 900 coding challenges and interactive, game-based learning. It also includes extensive teacher resources, so that teachers without prior coding experience or training can begin teaching and assessing these skills easily as they use the program alongside their students.
The course is also specifically aimed at those students, particularly girls, who are not traditionally drawn to STEM subjects or who have little access to tech learning. The course helps develop the four cornerstone STEM skills: critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication.
"We understand the importance of early exposure to coding and computational thinking in today's digital age," said Sarah Anderson, IL's vice president of product management, supplemental. "Therefore, we've created a course that not only captivates young minds but also nurtures essential 21st-century skills. Our goal is to empower educators and inspire students, especially girls and those from diverse backgrounds, to explore the limitless possibilities in the world of technology."
The course can be accessed on multiple devices (computers, laptops, tablets, and Chromebooks), with no apps required, during school and at home, the company said. It merges Python programming with ecological problem solving in a 3D environment. Lessons are available in English and Spanish, and coding language support is available in French, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, and Turkish.
"You don't have to have a tangible robot in front of you, because you're seeing your robot on the screen do exactly what you tell it to do," said a science teacher at Seitz Middle School in Riverview, MI.
"They're also learning that if one piece of code line doesn't work, then their whole entire program's not going to work," said another teacher. "So they're learning that they need to be precise, but it's okay to fail at the same time."
Visit this page to learn more, download a brochure, and watch a video, including student comments, about Imagine Robotify being used at Seitz Middle School.
Go here to learn more about the specific eighth grade course.
Kate Lucariello is a former newspaper editor, EAST Lab high school teacher and college English teacher.