February 17, 2020

What's WoofJS Got To Do With It?

Woof JS logo

Want to learn more about WoofJS and how The Coding Space uses it to help students transition from Scratch to higher-level coding languages? We spoke with Maddy Carter, Director of Curriculum and Operations at The Coding Space, about what kids can expect to learn with WoofJS.

Hi Maddy! Thanks for taking the time to talk with us about WoofJS. To start off, can you tell me about your role with The Coding Space?

I oversee our curriculum development, teacher training, and class experience. I spend my days thinking about how we can get the best out of our teachers, make our classrooms thrive, and bring about the greatest results for our students.

Inquiring minds want to know: What makes WoofJS so special?

WoofJS is a JavaScript framework that adds special functionality to the language to make it more learnable. Early on at The Coding Space, we noticed that our students were having trouble shifting from dragging and dropping blocks in MIT Scratch to matching brackets and braces, indenting, and creating functions and variables in JavaScript. Instead of learning to express new ideas, they were stalled by learning how to spell them. 

In WoofJS, we keep as much as possible about Scratch constant so students can focus on learning the syntax. For every word in Scratch, there is a text-based equivalent in Woof. 

To me, one of Woof’s most special features is that it was made by us! This means we can tailor it uniquely to our students and develop it continuously as we study and react to their accomplishments and setbacks.

How does The Coding Space make use of WoofJS? 

WoofJS is the transitional tool we use every day to help kids take that next step in their coding journey. It is in the fabric of our curriculum and has allowed us to foster a self-sufficiency in our students that we otherwise would not have had. An added bonus is to see that these have not only been the results for us but for others as well as it’s used all over the world to help students learn to code better.

Where does WoofJS fit within the other coding programs for young programmers? 

WoofJS is an effective stepping stone from block-based code to traditional text-based programming languages. It leverages prior experience in Scratch through its familiar vocabulary, allowing young coders to focus on high-level concepts, and its helpful features like autocomplete and live coding allow them to focus on the ideas and understand the flow of their program. As students get more and more used to the syntax, they start to realize how much more there is to explore in JavaScript and other languages and are equipped with the resources to do so.

What kinds of projects can kids make with WoofJS?

All sorts of things, like games, animations, and art! Some of my favorites include: Save the WaterWoof Frogger, and Emoji Dodger. We're excited to see what kids create with WoofJS!