The FoosSpring 2015 Mobile Apps
As computers continue to be a driving force in our lives, it is important that our children begin to have an understanding of the logical thinking required to instruct a computer to do complex tasks. The Foos from codeSpark is a cleverly-designed app intended for children 6 to 8 but appealing and accessible to a far wider range. By directing small creatures past obstacles and troublemakers using simple visual commands, children begin to learn just this kind of thinking.
Players progress from giving single steps to multiple operations in a sequence in order to earn the full marks for a level; eventually, repeated instructions (loops) are introduced in addition to conditional operations and multiple-object programming. Twenty-four increasingly difficult puzzles will engage teenage or adult puzzle-lovers as well as beginning programmers. The operations in the programs directly correlate to typical coding operations, but without the abstract concepts of variables and data storage that are sometimes more baffling to the concrete thought processes of early elementary students.
Most appealing to me as a parent was seeing how my children enjoyed working together on the puzzles. Even my teenager was completely engaged by the app. This was a fun app and caught our enthusiasm quickly; we would love to see even more levels or opportunities for open-ended play in the game.