Block and Text-Based Programming - Ellipsis Education

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Block and Text-Based Programming

In this session, you’ll explore block and text-based coding: how they’re related, how they’re different, as well as various benefits and drawbacks. Additionally, discuss how you can help ease your learners’ transition from block to text-based languages.

Walk away with two free computer science lessons (one block-based and one text-based) for use in your classroom, and after the event, receive a certificate of PD completion to your inbox.

About the Presenter


Sr. Curriculum Development Specialist

Sandy graduated from Ball State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics Teacher Education. She taught for two and a half years and was Director of Education for Sylvan Learning for four years. While working at Sylvan, Sandy also worked part time for Maker Youth Foundation where she wrote STEM curriculum and taught STEM enrichment classes.


Sr. Curriculum Development Specialist

Stephanie Bennett, MEd, holds degrees in Secondary Education from Butler University and Instructional Design from WGU Indiana. She spent 11 years teaching both French and English in a variety of grade levels. Now, Stephanie works with a different type of language: coding. As a curriculum specialist at Ellipsis Education, she uses her experience to create computer science curriculum that helps teachers connect with all their learners.

Block Coding for Elementary School

Many schools are implementing computer science programs for elementary students, which means teachers are expanding their knowledge into this content area. There are many benefits of becoming an elementary computer science teacher. First, elementary school computer science teachers begin with less complex coding languages. In general, young students begin their computer science coding journeys with block coding. Rather than having to write complex lines of code, teachers and students can use a visual drag-and-drop interface to create. This is especially nice for teachers that do not have as much technological experience; Scratch and Blockly are two popular block coding sites to explore.

Second, computer science is cross curricular and can be applied to many other areas of instruction. This is particularly helpful since elementary teachers usually teach all classroom subjects. Students can write stories and animate them using block coding to reinforce English / Language Arts standards. Students also use the coordinate plane when block coding, which reinforces math standards. This helps elementary school computer science teachers create a rich and immersive experience for students.

Finally, elementary computer science teachers have the opportunity to think about how to prepare for computer science in high school. The earlier students discover computer science, the more skills they will be able to apply in the future. The basic building blocks of coding taught in elementary school, such as loops, functions, and conditionals, can be applied to more complex languages. Students also practice the communication, collaboration, computational thinking, and creative skills they will need to be successful later in their educational careers. As students progress to more advanced projects, such as developing websites, programs, and games, they are motivated to connect with their world and empowered to expand their skills.

Text-Based Programming

Many schools only offer one text-based programming class: AP Computer Science. While this is a great course for students who want an extra challenge or to explore the possibility of studying computer science in college, it can be intimidating to other students who may not have had the opportunity to practice computer science skills up until this point.

We are great advocates of offering a complete K-12 computer science experience, and that includes transitioning students from block coding to text-based programming. Computer science teachers have the opportunity to empower their students with courses that expand their skills and develop their interests beyond just Java, the focus of the AP Computer Science class. Ellipsis Education high school courses use JavaScript, Java, Python, and Godot to develop websites, programs, and games. Whether students are building websites, manipulating data, or developing games, high schoolers build computer science skills that will prepare them for AP or other advanced-level courses. That way, they have years of experience and foundational knowledge that gives them confidence entering the AP exam or college courses.

Removing barriers to teaching computer science.