Building mobile apps is often viewed strictly as a tool for computer science or technology classrooms, but more educators are beginning to incorporate coding and app building into their curricula. Learning to build apps helps students gain critical skills, understand logic, and more. And applying those principles goes beyond computer science.
Let’s explore four ways teaching app building helps students beyond the computer science classroom.
1. Develop Critical Thinking Skills
App building helps illustrate a few key principles of critical thinking. Students who build an app are bound to get stuck in a few places. Instead of going line-by-line, like in traditional coding, issues are easier to spot and fix on a no code platform. That means students are less likely to get discouraged and more likely to keep going.
Creativity and curiosity are other aspects of critical thinking students use in app building. They’re free to create and design their app as they see fit without feeling limited by traditional coding. Students can often build something quickly and bring their vision to life.
App building, specifically outside of a Computer Science classroom, helps students bring together what they’re learning from multiple disciplines and apply it in a real-world format. Kriti Thakur, a consultant for The Big Red Group, says, “As an educator, when I zoom out and I see a student use a no code platform to build an app, it beautifully brings together a lot of the academic principles that they learn at school.”
2. Break Down Ideas
Having a great idea is one thing, but being able to communicate your idea and make it real is another skill entirely. App building helps students not just to think big but also to break down their ideas into manageable pieces.
“Kids today have a lot of ideas and they have the freedom to express their ideas and think freely and be innovative,” Thakur says. “What Thunkable does is it gives them the opportunity, in a very simple way, to actually go one step forward and not just talk in concept but put in the work.”
Being able to transpose your idea into your chosen medium is applicable across many disciplines—not just app building. But in app building, students can more finely hone that specific skill. We’ve seen many students over the years turn their big ideas into apps that solve a problem in their community, help the environment, and encourage people to be active.
3. Feeling Accomplished
We’ve spoken to many teachers, those who teach computer science and those who don’t, and they all say the same thing: students feel empowered when building apps. Thunkable’s live demo feature lets students see their app in real-time on their phones. It really gets students excited.
“My favorite lesson literally is the first day that I taught Thunkable because the expression on students' faces when they get an app working on their actual phone is really cool,” says Joe Mazzone, a high school teacher in Rhode Island.
With traditional coding, it could take days for students to be able to make a button work or change something in an app. With no code, students can quickly make changes and see them right away.
4. Tangible Takeaways
Gone are the days of school projects collecting dust in a closet. With no code app building, students can easily share projects on Thunkable or they can publish their apps to the Apple or Google Play store. Having a real output of their work motivates students to keep building and solving problems.
Teachers have said over and over that students love having a real app to show friends and family. “[Students] were just so proud of it [their app] and felt like it was a big accomplishment that they made something useful,” Mazzone says. “That's always been the coolest thing is that it's fun to teach all kinds of concepts, but in the end, students can create something.”
No code app building shouldn’t be limited to computer science classrooms, it teaches students important skills that apply to a range of subjects. We have teachers all around the world utilizing Thunkable to empower the next generation of students to bring their ideas to life with no code.
If you’re interested in using Thunkable in your classroom, click here to learn more about our educational offerings and discounts.
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