When your kid's Bitsbox app doesn't work the first time it might be tempting for them to give up and move on. Here are 3 tips to encourage kids to continue to work hard and grow in their coding skills:
1. Don't let them get discouraged. "Let's fix that Oops! Bug!"
It's disappointing when we click on the green Play button in the Bitsbox coding environment and wait for something awesome to appear on the screen... and instead we get the dreaded error message. Kids might be tempted to give up and try another app, but encourage them to carefully read through their code. It might be something as simple as a misplaced letter or a missing curly bracket!
The feeling of getting an app to work after fixing a mistake is priceless. Plus it teaches kids persistence; an error message doesn't mean they should jump ship! Even the best coders get bugs, and they are the best because they know how to go back and fix what is broken. Once kids have practice going through code and finding their errors, they can confidently squash bugs going forward!
Pssssst! Did you know you can ask the Bitsbox team for help with an app if you get really stuck? Don't abandon your app—we'd love to get it working for you! :)
2. Provide challenges. "What else can you do with this app?"
If kids can change pieces of the Bitsbox apps they've already created, then eventually they'll have both the knowledge and the confidence to build their own apps from square one. Bitsbox cards have challenges on them, but you can offer up challenges of your own too!
Start small, asking if they can change things like the stamps and the backgrounds. As kids progress, so can your challenges! Can you add a tap function? Can you add another level? Can you make your own app that does x, y, and z?Building up slowly allows kids to confidently approach each challenge without letting them stagnate in their skills, and before they know it they will be expert Bitsboxers!
3. Encourage partner coding. "Ask a friend!"
When kids work together on an app, there are two sets of eyes ready to find errors, two imaginations ready to create interesting twists on apps, and two voices ready to explain the code to one another.
Kids can benefit from multiple points of view, as one kid might envision a function working one way but their friend might see it working another way, showing kids that there isn't just one right answer with coding. Partner coding also allows younger kids who aren't quite ready for typing on their own to use Bitsbox with an older sibling or friend. They can suggest that their partner change things, which reinforces learning as they have to know what commands to change in order to accommodate suggestions.Even our team at Bitsbox codes together!
Me, Lauren, and Emma coding Eggstreme Easter Hunt together!
Keeping kids interested in the face of an Oops! Bug! can be difficult, but with some encouragement and practice your kids can grow into confident Bitsboxers!