Grok Learning is an online interactive platform which offers coding modules in various programming languages (ie Blockly, Python, SQL and HTML/CSS) for students in year 3 to secondary. Each Grok module guides students to develop computational thinking skills, using a step by step walk through approach for each problem. It isn’t free, but there are a range of different payment options available. However, all content is free for teachers (and pre-service teachers) to evaluate, use for professional development or simply investigate before purchasing.
My school has purchased a years’ full subscription for each student in year 6 and 7, starting Term 3 this year. Why did I start the subscription during term 3? Think about it, a years’ subscription starting Term 3 means the same student can access the program in their current year level during Term 3 and 4 and then the following year during Term 1 and 2. They will be able to build on their skills and progressively work through the modules. You basically get 2 years value out of the one subscription. Makes sense doesn’t it?
I chose Grok Learning for our Year 6 and 7 students because they are advanced in coding (my biased opinion), as we have a strong program starting from Reception right though to year 6. I remember that is was only about 4 years ago that Scratch coding was part of our secondary curriculum, now we use it in Year 4, after having used Scratch Junior in Year 2 and 3.
Also, I was finding that students were proficient with the ‘drag and drop’ style coding and were looking for more. Last year, I taught my Year 5 students Java script through Hour of Code and Code.org. This year, the year 6 teachers are saying, ‘Well what do we teach them now Villis? They know more than us!‘ (I took this as a compliment 😉 ).
However, part of my role at school is to not only support students, but teachers as well. I think Grok Learning might be the answer to our problem; How do we extend students beyond ‘drag and drop’ coding and how can we provide professional development in coding for teachers? I will provide you with updates and if the program actually works for our students and teachers.
Below is a video which explains the program.