During a school visit last week I was introduced to Tynker – a fun graphical programming system that is based on-line and uses a block programming approach to create some amazing looking games.
Gone, it appears, are the days of spending twenty hours programming code to get one pixelated blob to shoot another pixelated blob! Using Tynkers ‘Hour of Code’ demo I was able to create a ‘Hotwheels’ themed obstacle course using slick graphics and an easy interface.
Initially programming is done on a follow-me, drag and drop basis with a partial story-line tutorial which quickly immerses users in a progressive level and challenge based game.
The tutorials get progressively harder without really seeming to and users are quickly programming multi-step command routines to complete mazes and race courses in the Hot-wheels challenges.
If you’re looking to get kids programming at home, then Tynker is an excellent option. For individual students the ‘all’ courses software costs $6 per month based on a yearly subscription and an individual course cost $40 on a one-off life time access basis.
For schools the pricing is based on courses and classroom size for yearly access, and while the price is getting up there, the STEM based courses look to integrate straight into any science programs and link with current curriculum with a range of units on Physical and earth sciences, maths and social studies to name a few.
Another interesting payment plan is their ‘Camp’ pricing structure which features a number of courses on a specific day at a fixed, per-student rate – great for science camps!