Kids Know Best: The Code Ninjas Franchise and Robolink

Remember Mackenzie? If you have been following the Instructicate website you’ve already been virtually introduced to her. As a reminder, Mackenzie is a spunky soon to be 6th grader; she regularly contributes to my growth as an educator by sharing her experiences with various products and programs I like to try before I buy.

Code Ninja’s

Mackenzie IS a programmer. She’s really good at it, she enjoys it, and her skills grow with every opportunity she finds herself in. Over the years she’s tried so many camps and programs from gymnastics to cooking. The Code Ninjas Franchise is a new program for her that she seems to really like. So what’s a Code Ninja?

Code Ninjas is a game-based coding program. Parents can enroll their children in the drop-off program or a thematic camp. Code Ninjas offers coding camps on introductory Javascript, game building, Minecraft, Roblox, and Snap Circuits. Makenzie is enrolled in a drop-off program and she’s planning on attending two of the week-long summer camps. Since enrolling in the program, I have noticed that Mackenzie’s skill sets related to content creation on Scratch have blossomed. She is able to integrate music, text, scene changes, and Sprite (character) interactions.

What does Mackenzie have to say about Code Ninjas?

“It’s an awesome program to be in because there are really nice people that help you.”

The Robolink CoDrone

Mackenzie and her family entered a raffle during the Grand Opening of the area Code Ninjas. They won a Robolink CoDrone and the two of us ventured to the front yard to take the mini drone on its first spin.

Here’s what I noticed… The CoDrone has its own drag-and-drop and remote control applications. The applications were pretty hard to find on the App Store and there’s not a lot of guidance on the site. Once we located the remote control app, we installed it and took the CoDrone outside. The CoDrone is very similar to the Parrot Mambo Drone. It’s light weight and uses the same battery. The nice thing about Parrot Mambo Drones, that is not a characteristic shared by the CoDrone, is that it can be used with various coding platforms. For example, had we been using the Mambo Drone, we could have used the Tinker application to program the robot in addition to the Parrot applications available for use.

Overall, we didn’t get the full CoDrone experience, because we couldn’t find the apps. Mackenzie is brilliant, but she’s human. Why a link to the apps could not be found on the Robolink website is a mystery to me. With only the remote control app, we just flew the drone around the driveway. As with other mini drone models, the battery life is short. This makes sense, the drone is small so the battery has to be small. Once the 20 minutes of use were up, we packed up the drone and it hasn’t been used since. Did Mackenzie ever find the drag-and-drop block-based programming application? She didn’t and as much as I searched for it while typing this entry, I was also unable to find the CoDrone apps.

What does Mackenzie have to say about the CoDrone?

“The drone is pretty much worthless. It really only is playable for 30 minutes and then you have to wait 40 minutes for it to charge.”

Want to Learn More?

Mackenzie’s Place– Get to Know Mackenzie!

Code Ninja’s- Franchised game-based coding camps for kids!

Robolink– Robotics Site

Scratch- MIT’s drag and drop block-based programming site

Parrot Education– Parrot Drone information

Tynker– Coding for Kids

Block-based Programming:

Grover, S. & Basu, S. (2017). Measuring student learning in introductory block-based programming: Examining misconceptions of loops, variables, and boolean logic [doc]. Retrieved from

Weintrop, D. & Wilensky, U. (2015). To block or not to block, that is the question: Students’ perceptions of blocks-based programming [doc]. Retrieved from

See Also: Something New from Ozobot post

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