Following on from the previous posts in the ‘Alternatives to Scratch’ series I thought I would share Rapid Router, this is another great resource I was shown by the legendary Julian Wood, who is an amazing teacher and EdTech speaker based in Sheffield who’s constantly sharing new and exciting ideas for the classroom. Rapid Router is a Block based programming software that is available online and simple to use and exciting for children and it is available here.
Ocado Rapid Router
Instantly when you first access the Rapid Router site it’s clear to see that this website has been designed with ease of use and enjoyment as its clear aim. The website is a Code for Life website that boasts a mission statement that anyone can learn how to code and Rapid Router helps you learn how. It’s fun, free and easy- all the things we love with EdTech!
Rapid Router is a fun and engaging education resource which includes a coding game that helps teach children the basic principles of programming. The scenario is that you are in charge of the delivery truck out for delivery. Built on ‘Blockly’, an easy-to-use visual programming language that’s similar to Scratch, Rapid Router enables teachers to monitor and manage individual pupil progress and identify where more support is required.
Rapid Router has decided to go along a step by step prescriptive route, similar to quite a few of these online resources. This could be beneficial in a number of ways:
- Teachers that feel unconfident with Scratch and Programming.
- Code Club – promoting a differentiation by outcome philosophy
- Independent Learning – sometimes it’s good for the children to teach themselves, break it or get it wrong then go back a step and fix it.
- Homework from Code Club, or Digital Leaders
- Promoting a love of Coding – for those who just love it and don’t want to leave coding at school.
Another reason I like Rapid Router is for the differentiation possibilities, children can click arrows on the screen which then adds blocks to the script for the car. Users that initially struggle with this or learners with Special Educational Needs may benefit from this additional feature.
A further feature I like is the commentary from industry leaders. Once users are passed the initial levels there are videos from professionals, this is slightly similar to Hour of Code. I really like this as I am particularly keen on providing real-world context to as much learning as possible, also it’s great for promoting STEM and STEAM futures; it especially went down well at my school as our ethos is Aspiration, Inspiration, Motivation – so high five for that Rapid Router!
Finally, as I have said previously varied programming diets can have advantages as it keeps engagement and enjoyment and by changing the format that children are using programming skills it could help their understanding of these principles, as when learners do similar things on different programs for the same outcome it demonstrates that they really understand how to do it.
An example that really can out of this was loops and conditional loops, the children’s understanding really came on with the scenario of the delivery truck. Now that the class are more secure with loops and conditional loops when we next use them in a programming lesson they can apply that knowledge.
Thanks for reading!