Product Review of Microsoft MakeCode
The MakeCode site offers fairly extensive support materials for educators and independent learners. There are projects of varying complexity as well as course materials to follow that offer a systematic introduction to coding concepts. Externally, there are also materials available for each peripheral device (like the micro:bit or Grove Zero) on YouTube, for learners or educators searching for additional ideas.
Microsoft MakeCode showcases the diverse application of computer coding. Where we often think of coding as being used to create apps, educators can use MakeCode to show that code can be used to control hardware, for engineering, for art — for almost anything. This makes MakeCode really well suited to robotics clubs, makerspaces, and science classes. This may make it less appealing for educators trying to integrate elements of coding into things like ELA, social studies, and math.
Microsoft MakeCode is undoubtedly a powerful tool for learning to code and for seeing the incredible range of applications for programming. A key role for K–12 educators is helping foster interest in coding among a diverse range of learners. By seeing different ways that code is used, coding will ideally appeal to more types of learners and encourage them to study and apply it. This makes MakeCode a valuable learning and teaching tool.
Overall User Consensus About the App
MakeCode offers something for almost any student: Minecraft players, kids into robotics, makers, etc. For older learners, the early projects may seem young, but if they stick with it, there’s plenty of potential for growth.
Curriculum and Instruction
A key strength of MakeCode is showing the diverse applications of code (i.e., it’s not just for creating apps). But some instructional components are too step-by-step and don’t push learners to figure things out on their own.