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What is Microsoft MakeCode? | Steps to Get Started With Microsoft MakeCode for Kids

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Microsoft MakeCode

Coding has become an important skill in the current era. Teaching children coding is a smart way to prepare them for the future. Learning programming languages could be both profitable financially and also teach many soft skills. One such kid-friendly coding platform is Microsoft MakeCode. In this article, we will learn about Microsoft MakeCode, its features, and why it is kid-friendly. Keep reading to learn more.

What is Microsoft MakeCode?

Microsoft MakeCode is a visual programming language that resembles Snap! and Scratch. Also, Microsoft MakeCode enables working with and saving JavaScript code. MakeCode programs can be created in Blocks, Static TypeScript, or Static Python,” according to its technical home page for programmers. Before being compiled into lower-level languages, Blocks and Static Python are both transformed into Static TypeScript. Google Blockly is used to implement Blocks. Static TypeScript is a subset of TypeScript, an extension to JavaScript that allows static typing but can be compiled into standard JavaScript.  The platform provides the foundation for a tailored coding experience to create and run user programs on actual hardware or in a simulated target.

There are several coding kits and hardware that uses can be programmed with MakeCode. Here are a few of the popular coding kits that use Microsoft MakeCode Editor

  • Adafruit: Circuit Playground Express,
  • LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3,
  • Chibi Chip,
  • MakeCode Minecraft(the online Minecraft cube-based online world),
  • MakeCode Micro:bit(the educational board from BBC), and
  • Cue.

Microsoft MakeCode is an online, open-source coding software. It has succeeded in bringing computer science to life and has made complex topics easy.

Microsoft MakeCode
Microsoft MakeCode

What Are The Features of Microsoft MakeCode?

Microsoft MakeCode offers a range of activities to help children learn to code. It enables children to start from simple block-based coding and then progress to advanced projects. It has an extremely user-friendly interface, making it easy for all age groups to learn it. Here are some of the features of Microsoft MakeCode:

  1. Teach how to code with any skill level: Users can learn how to code as they move from block-based coding to languages like JavaScript and Python.
  2. Block-Based coding: MakeCode hosts a range of block coding features. This can help children with limited or no knowledge of coding learn programming with ease. It helps lay a foundation for the more advanced features the platform offers.
  3. Javascript & Python: Microsoft MakeCode teaches text-based coding once the children are familiarised with the concept of coding. This will help children progress to more complex coding and foster innovation.
  4. Monaco-based text editor: with enhanced, robust auto-completion and auto-correction
  5. Download your creation: If you have created something remarkable, it needs to be shared with the world. MakeCode allows you to download your work onto another device. Show off your innovation for others to see. Users can download the codes of MakeCode onto physical hardware devices and bring their code into the physical world by running it on a variety of physical devices. MeowBit, BrainPad Arcade, TinkerGen GameGo, Retro Arcade for Education, etc. are a few examples of boards where the MakeCode codes can be downloaded. “Click Here” to know more about the boards that support MakeCode.
  6. Learning computer science: Microsoft MakeCode has many video tutorials and lessons on coding, gaming, and general computer science. It can be used at an institution to educate many students. Kids can also take personal lessons with the materials available on the platform. With the help of personally meaningful projects, MakeCode offers students captivating ways to learn computing principles at their own pace.
  7. Game Jam your knowledge: MakeCode offers a gaming outlet for young coders to test out their knowledge. The games can help the coders engage with a community of like-minded players and share their ideas and knowledge, and grow.
  8. MakeCode Guided Tutorials: Each of the MakeCode editors provides users with a library of step-by-step tutorials and skill maps that walk through fun projects while users learn new skills.
  9. Popular Coding kits that use Microsoft MakeCode Editor: Adafruit: Circuit Playground Express, LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3, Chibi Chip, and Cue are the popular coding kits that use Microsoft MakeCode Editor.

Additional features of Microsoft MakeCode

MakeCode offers additional features as well. The list of the additional features is as follows:

  1. Supports Minecraft coding game
  2. Supports Adafruit: Circuit Playground Express
  3. Supports MakeCode Arcade
  4. Supports Micro:bit
  • Microsoft MakeCode can help children do in-game coding for Minecraft. Being one of the most played games, Minecraft has quickly become a favorite for many age groups. MakeCode has special features that allow you to learn to code for Minecraft.
  • MakeCode supports learning to code electronics on Adafruit: Circuit Playground Express. It also enables one to program robots to perform the desired functions using the Lego Mindstorms Education EV3 platform.
  • A feature called MakeCode Arcade allows the coder to make retro-style games. It gives one the full arcade experience on a PC or a tab.
  • MakeCode can enable coders to learn programming and gaming on a Micro:bit. Microbit is a pocket-sized device that can act as a computer and help one code or play games on the go.
  • This platform allows one to customize their creations to the last detail. It allows us to create landscapes, landforms, buildings, characters, and more!

Let your imagination run wild as you learn to code on Microsoft MakeCode. Being suitable for all ages, it has made it easy for children to operate it with minimal supervision. Learn to code on Microsoft MakeCode on the official website- https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/makecode

What Are MakeCode Essentials?

When all the components of the MakeCode programming environment are combined, what is commonly referred to as an “editor” is produced. Although MakeCode includes much more than just an editor, this specific term is used more often, rather than referring to the MakeCode target as a “programming experience”. MakeCode is not a universal programming platform but an extensible framework to create any number of MakeCode-based experiences customized to a specific target. These targets are typically maker-style or educational single-board computers. The components that make up a MakeCode editor are

  • a blocks editor,
  • a language editor,
  • a target simulator, and
  • a target code generator

The MakeCode framework is used by target developers, who enhance it by modifying the user interface and adding extra blocks and functions specific to their hardware.

How to Make Projects In MakeCode?

MakeCode is an open-source project and is provided as a joint effort between Microsoft Research and Visual Studio. MakeCode has all the features you need to create amazing projects. To get started with the first project with MakeCode follow the steps given below.

  • Step 1: Go to the Microsoft MakeCode window of the Microsoft website.
  • Step 2: You can start from any of the following: Arcade, Micro:bit, or Minecraft. Choose any by clicking from the window.
  • Step 3: The next screen has skillmaps, tutorials, and a live coding section. These will teach you the basics of how to get started.
  • Step 4: Click on the “New Project” option and make your 1st MakeCode project. You can explore more with more experience as the window has many advance level options as well.

Click “Microsoft MakeCode” to go to the MakeCode window. Make and code your own project now.

Microsoft MakeCode Arcade

Microsoft MakeCode Arcade is an open-source 2D game development platform specially designed for children between the ages of 9 and 16 to help them learn how to code. It is a free coding platform. Kids can design and create their own online games that can be shared and downloaded to handheld game devices. It uses Java script along with the static TypeScript language.

FAQs

What is Microsoft MakeCode?
Microsoft MakeCode is an online coding platform for children. It teaches programming with easy steps and in a syntax-free manner initially.

Is Microsoft MakeCode free?
Yes. Microsoft MakeCode is free. It can be accessed online through the official website.

How do I start coding on Microsoft MakeCode?
Go to the official MakeCode website. On the top right corner, you will find an option to Sign in/ Sign up.
Click on it and enter your credentials. Once you have created an account of MakeCode, you can start your coding experience.

Is Microsoft MakeCode easy for children?
Yes. Microsoft MakeCode is an easy tool for all age groups. It is primarily aimed at kids above the age of 9.
But children below 9 years old can also operate it easily.

Does Microsoft MakeCode have block-based coding?
Yes. MakeCode teaches block-based coding first.
Children can gradually advance to text-based programming by learning Javascript and Python on the same platform.

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