Anytime you can combine augmented reality, cute robots, and coding fun, you are guaranteed student engagement. And that’s exactly what the Rox’s Secret Code app does. Available free for both Android and iOS, the app was designed to work with the book by the same name and teach coding to both girls and boys ages 4 to 8.
The book is the story of a code whiz who originally creates a “Chorebot” to help her clean her room, but is forced to readjust the code when the robot begins to act out on its own. Although the launch page of the app asks if the students already own the book, purchasing it isn’t necessary to enjoy the app.
How Rox’s Secret Code Works
Students first must design their own robot, building it from a variety of pieces that are available. The robot appears in AR immediately and is fun to see. My first robot is to the left. You can see it appearing over my laptop in my living room. The next step is to give the robot a name. Then you can take a photo of the robot itself or a selfie with you and your robot.
Your bot is now ready to begin learning to code. Students play with coding blocks and learn coding principles by making it pick up toys. The coding skills in the learn mode are put into action in the play mode, where they drag the “move action” blocks, which include move, rotate, and grab, to the code line. Once kids complete the code line, they activate their robot and watch it follow their directions. Rox informs players when there’s code missing or when the move action block does not match the robot’s path towards the finish line. The game becomes a bit more challenging, prompting for more move action blocks, when kids consistently code correctly.
While playing, students develop organization, planning, and sequencing skills, which transcend the world of coding. The graphics are colorful and appealing and Rox is available to talk the students through the activities. It’s especially wonderful that the app is available free. If you teach young students, I encourage you to take a look at it.