It’s true… Coding is officially cool! Well, at least that’s what Will.I.Am is telling me. With high profile figures in business, sport, technology and music promoting coding, it is no longer a space reserved just for geeks and nerds.
A huge part of this mainstream adoption to coding has come from our daily interaction with smartphones and Apps. With 17 year old students becoming App millionaires and thousands of new Apps entering the marketplace each day, the opportunities for kids to get involved in App development is exploding.
Here are five very different ways to get enthusiastic young coders into the App space. And, you never know, you just might get caught up in the hype too!
1. Join or Start a CoderDojo
Arguably, one of the best ways to get started with App development is to get “hands on”. We know that students learn best by doing, and that is the premise behind the revolutionary movement that is CoderDojo.
“At a CoderDojo, young people learn how to code, develop websites, apps, programs, games and more. Dojos are set up, run by and taught at by volunteers. Dojos organise tours of technology companies, bring in guest speakers to talk about their career and what they do, and organise events. In addition to learning to code, members meet like minded people, show off what they’ve been working on and so on. CoderDojo makes development and learning to code a fun, sociable, kick ass experience. CoderDojo also puts a strong emphasis on open source and free software, and has a strong network of members and volunteers globally.”
2. Try an Online Course
You can pretty much learn to do anything online these days. Whether it be via MOOCs, YouTube, Vimeo or Lynda.com, there is video content to step through each and every phase of app development.
Here are two excellent video courses for first time coders. Featured on Udemy, both the course for iOS and Android focus on learning to create Apps from scratch:
“This course is far and away the top selling App Inventor training course in the world. Join the thousands of satisfied Android Developers who are already making Apps from the skills learned in this course.”
“This course goes through all of the fine details you will need to start building successful games. The course is designed for beginners to help you understand how a game engine works and the logic behind game production.”
3. Get Reading
That’s right… Books. Those paper things we used to use before picking up the iPad, Kindle or Nook. Patronisation aside, whether you choose to put a reference book on your device or go for a proper paper copy, you can’t beat the huge variety of specific App development books available.
From the perspective of developing apps with kids who may not be proficient or strong programmers, look for books that are geared at a novice audience. Try and find books that use examples and practice projects to re-enforce skills and techniques.
A great place to start is with ‘Diving In – iOS App Development for Non-Programmers Series‘. The book goes into a good level of detail while keeping key concepts as simple as possible for a younger audience (I would not recommend it for very young learners). Take a look at some of the comments in the Amazon store and see just how popular the book is within the App building community.
4. Go to College
Once upon a time “Go to college” was a pretty expensive option (and it still is in many ways). But, the openness of online learning has ‘flipped’ this concept, allowing students around the globe to learn from some of the world’s most respected educational institutions.
Via iTunesU, Stanford University offers an extremely well recognised set of material on creating Apps for the iPhone and iPad. Delivered via an archive of audio and video content from schools, departments, and programs within Stanford, the course is a great option for older students (aimed at tertiary, but applicable to enthusiastic high school students too).
5. Creating Apps from the Source
Finally, it would be unfair to complete the list without directing you to the official starting points for App development. Apple, Google and Microsoft all offer a huge amount of material, links and resources to get started in App creation. Take a look at the links below and launch you and your students into App development:
What have you used to leap into the exciting world of App development? How eager are your students to join the fun? Let us know in the comments below.
Image courtesy of Flickr, William Hook.