Hello, dear educator! Thanks so much for your interest in Bitsbox. Educators all around the world have been using Bitsbox in their classrooms, and we couldn't be more thrilled. Bitsbox has been visited by hundreds of thousands of students to build apps and learn about computer science.
What's Bitsbox?With Bitsbox, children learn to program by creating fun apps that work on computers and gadgets like iPads and Android tablets. The Bitsbox.com website provides each child with a virtual tablet and a place to type their code. The experience starts with lots of guidance, first showing learners exactly what to type, then quickly encouraging them to modify and expand their apps by typing in new commands.
What kinds of kids can use Bitsbox?We developed Bitsbox for kids as young as six. With younger kids (first through third grades), it's helpful to have an adult close by, but older kids can build apps entirely on their own. No previous programming experience is needed.
What do I need to use Bitsbox in my classroom?Bitsbox is an online application that runs entirely in the computer browser. Here's what you need to use Bitsbox in your classroom:
- One computer for every one or two students (Younger kids do very well in "pair programming" setups where they can help each other out, while older students should probably have a machine all to themselves.)
- A modern web browser. (Google Chrome is best, but Firefox, IE11, and Safari work okay, too. )
- A reliable (though not necessarily lightning-fast) internet connection
- A physical keyboard and mouse for each computer
- A printed handout (included with this Teacher's Guide) for each student
Make sure the Bitsbox website works on the computers your students will use.
Some school districts block unfamiliar websites for safety reasons. Go to bitsbox.com/go and click Build Apps Now. If you get an error message, ask your school's IT person to allow access to the following websites:
How do I get my students started with Bitsbox?Do a Bitsbox Hour of Code! It's completely online and tailor-made for classrooms full of Bitsbox beginners. If all goes well, you can order some Bitsbox printed materials to keep the party going. Have fun!
Why can't my students do Bitsbox entirely on their iPads?The apps that kids build with Bitsbox are able to be run on tablets, but the actual creation of the apps (the typing and testing part) is best done on a computer with a physical keyboard. Bitsbox will eventually be optimized to work on touch interfaces, but it doesn't yet.
How can my students run their apps on a tablet?Kids can easily run the apps they build on smartphones and tablets. Bitsbox apps are really just web pages; to run them on a device, you open the webpage in that device's web browser. The easiest way to "send" the web address to the device is by using a QR code reader to scan it right off the student's computer screen. Follow these steps:
- Install a QR code scanner app on your tablet or phone. These are two good, free options:
Apple iOS: QR Scanner from Mixerbox
Android: QR Droid from DroidLa
- On a computer, open the student's app in Bitsbox . You'll see a small, gray "share" icon in the upper-right corner of the computer screen.
- Click the share icon to show the QR code that's unique to their app.
- Use the QR code scanner app on your tablet or phone to scan the QR code on the student's computer screen.
- Open the web page that wants to open on your tablet or phone. It's the student's app!