I definitely see your point, if we targeting very young girls, having a flashy pink page excites…
Juliana Roding
1

That could be true, I should check out the research on visual coding. 
But what I have noticed is that it helps make code less intimidating.

I’ve noticed that for 8–9 year olds, if-then-else and loops are already quite a concept to grasp and write out. It seems to help when they have the ‘building blocks’ at their disposal, as a block of “if () { } else {}” seems to cause overload or discourage children. Perception is very important. They need to think “Yes, I can do this”.

Another example is that children (and even adults) often don’t realise how specific you have to be to a computer or robot. You can’t tell it to make a sandwich, you need to specify every movement. And that is a whole new way of thinking. For example that if they want their robot to turn, they need to have one wheel at 0 speed for a set amount of time. Not just tell the robot to go left. The blocks we provide them, already hint at that, making the transition easier to grasp.

With children over 12, we quickly move on to written code. Building blocks are usually just an introduction and they make the switch almost instantly. 
But even then, for a fair group children, it seems to be a good method when they get stuck or have to write out a long, complicated piece of code. They try to build their train of thought with the blocks and then check the actual code behind it to see what’s happening.

We often use the building blocks to help children (and even adults) make the link between what their robot is doing on the floor; and the written code that comes on their screen.

Sorry if I’m ranting :D 
I do see the importance of getting young people into contact with actual written code, especially when those other exercises become too easy.

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