How to teach coding without laptops and tablets

Updated: Mar 31

May 19th, 2021

Nikolas Zetouni


In a perfect world, every school and classroom would have enough tablets, computers, and robotics kits for every student. But let’s be honest, the world is far from perfect, and unless you’re extremely fortunate, you’ll have to come up with strategies to prepare your students with 21st century skills with less resources than you’d like.

Yes, it is possible!

Ideally you want your students hands on with a coding language such as Python, Javascript, Scratch, or Make-Code, but you can teach them the basics of coding without needing to touch a computer or tablet. Consider this: coding language will come and go, what’s most important is that your students understand the fundamentals of computer programming. Once they’ve got the basics, they’ll be able to take these to whichever coding language they encounter in the future.

What are the basics anyways?

No matter what kind of coding language your students are going to run into, the basics will stay the same. The first thing they need to understand that the computer will do exactly what you tell it to do. One way to explain this without technology is to get the students to create a list of instructions for a partner to follow. The next thing that they’ll need to understand is loops, which is something that repeats. From the set of instructions they’ve created, now they can find the items that repeat, and make their instructions more concise. Finally, they’ll need to understand what variables and conditionals are. Well, now they have to create instructions that can work in more than one situation.

They’ve got the basics, now what?

Eventually, you’re going to run into a wall where your students need to have some hands on with technology. The best step to take at this point, if your school can’t afford to purchase new gear for your students is to look into bringing in companies for residencies in your school. The upside of this approach is that it allows your students to be exposed to a wide variety of technology at a fraction of the cost. At Coded-Minds we offer a wide range of residencies with flexible budgets and time-frames to suit any school or teacher’s schedule.