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Help your students navigate the learning gap between block-based and text-based Python coding with this intuitive cloud-based resource
AT A GLANCE
- A coding resource that allows students to easily make the transition from block code to text code
- Interactive tasks and schemes of learning that encourage self-exploration and can be delivered without specialist knowledge
- Easy to use interface
- Provides students with instant feedback
REVIEW BY ADAM RICHES
Computer coding is a complex process. Despite significant increases in computer literacy among young people, many still struggle to make the leap from the block coding taught at KS2 to the text coding taught at KS3 as a prerequisite for many KS4 ICT and computing courses.
Python in Pieces aims to help students make that leap more easily, by using their prior knowledge to develop a better understanding of the context and workings of text-based coding. Designed around a cloud-based platform, Python in Pieces utilises separate interfaces for teachers and students, both of which are intuitive, easy to navigate and well-suited to home and distance learning.
Students can engage with tasks at three levels of difficulty roughly equating to years 7, 8 and 9, though they aren’t labelled as such. Each level comprises six lessons, all of which include a breakdown of content, topics and activities, enabling non-specialists to teach them with ease.
Each task is marked by the program itself in real time, and offers teachers a means of providing students with instant feedback. The teacher interface gives users ready access to all the relevant activities and answers, thus potentially giving non-expert staff a means of teaching themselves coding as useful CPD exercise.
Students can be shown video guides that model and scaffold how the tasks should be completed, which for me are one of the resource’s main strengths. These empower
students, allow for independent working and can be watched at the learner’s own pace, meaning that whole classes can potentially be set different topics simultaneously.
The resource is notable for the way in which it can translate Python on the fly from block code to text code and vice versa. This allows students to understand the intricacies of the language as they work with it, while encouraging them to explore ideas and concepts that may be new to them. Written code can then be run and easily shared around the class from within the program itself, or distributed via links and QR codes, opening up a range of creative learning opportunities.
Another impressive feature is the ability for users to select the speed at which their programs are executed, allowing students to closely follow the completion of each function. Teachers can in turn track students’ progress using a series of filters, and instantly see which students required hints in order to complete tasks. The teacher interface can even mimic what students are seeing on their screens at any given time.
Python in Pieces is a self-contained solution for teaching code that can break down complicated concepts into much more manageable steps, and help students make real progress on their computer science journeys.
✓ Designed with simplicity and functionality in mind
✓ Allows students to seamlessly move between working with block code and text code
✓ Rich evidence-tracking functions help with monitoring students’ learning progress
✓ Empowers schools to deliver teaching around a complex topic with minimal CPD investment
✓ An impressive resource for boosting student engagement with coding tasks
UPGRADE IF. . .
You’re looking for a way to deliver high quality coding lessons to students of all abilities at KS3; it’s also worth considering for settings that lack specialist ICT staff and require a reliable bridge to KS4 computing
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