5 Cool Tools for your Dojo
Here’s some cool tools for you to try at your Dojo over the summer!
This super cool tool lets you see the building blocks that make up websites on the internet. Activate the goggles to inspect the code behind any webpage, then remix elements with a single click, swapping in your own text, images and more.
This is a fun and exciting plugin that sits in your ‘Bookmarks Bar’. It will allow for Ninjas to visit sites they use regularly and inspect the code that is used, with the added benefit of being able to add their own changes and watch it update live all within their browser.
You can preview and install X-Ray Goggles here.
CSS Diner is a fun, free, interactive game which teaches you the basics of choosing the right selectors in CSS. This game would probably be suited to more advanced Ninjas or for older beginners.
This is a cool way to learn CSS using animated food. The game is centred around a table that has different plates on it. There are 26 different levels which guide you through particular concepts when you pick certain items on the table. Each level will take you through a different CSS selector and they are all very well explained on the side of the screen. There is also the option to skip ahead to certain selectors which are shown on the side if there is something in particular the Ninja would like to learn.
The game does begin to get harder as you progress through the levels but they are still straight forward and still help the user to learn what each selector is. It is a good way to get the rules of CSS to stick in your Ninjas heads!
Learn CSS Diner here.
This game is designed to help the user to learn Java by building a robot through code. Your robot then goes on to fight other robots in a battle arena.
This game can run on any operating system that supports Java and is a fun way for your Ninjas to learn the basics of this programming language. The Ninja playing the game is the programmer of the robot but will not have any influence over the robot once it goes into the battlefield. Instead, their job is to write the AI of the robot telling it how to behave and react to events that occur once they are in the battlefield.
Robocode is a fun and different tool that Ninjas will really enjoy. It can be a little complicated so it would probably be better suited to more advanced Ninjas but your Ninjas could work their way towards this game.
You can download and install Robocode here.
HTML5 Game Development
This site is very useful for anyone who wants to learn HTML5 as it is a compilation of different games that incorporate HTML5.
The engine which would be most Ninja-friendly is IvanK Lib which is a WebGL based HTML5 engine. It uses the idea of sprites which Ninjas who have used Scratch will be familiar with. IvanK is fast and works well even on low-end devices. It is useful for making 3D graphics and you can use it on any device.
HTML5 Game Development would be good for more advanced Ninjas too as they can browse the different games and see which one suits them or which they find easiest for using HTML5.
You can find HTML5 Engines here.
Sonic Pi is a free live coding synth which is a lot of fun to use in a Dojo session. While it was originally designed to support music and computing classes in school, it is now being used as a new type of coding tool. Once your Ninjas are familiar with Scratch and want to move on to something a bit more challenging, some coding programs that are the next step can look a bit intimidating but Sonic Pi has a very easy, simple language style.
Sonic Pi runs on the Raspberry Pi and it shows you instantly how your code works. You are able to hear the code that you are writing and it allows you to play music and learn to code at the same time which is something that Ninjas interact with really well. There are lots of different styles of music available on the Sonic Pi from classical to pop music.
Ninjas can write text based code to produce a music track which is a fun, different outcome to their usual coding lessons. As well as teaching children how to code, it is emerging as a powerful live coding instrument. There is even a children’s orchestra that live code their music using Sonic Pi!
You can check out Sonic Pi here.