Schools are starting to realize that a code curriculum should be real-world focused. That means students come away with both conceptual, and practical coding skills. Unfortunately, many courses/solutions offered today only offer conceptual learning.
… There are no jobs in block based coding, or in using code snippets to move a character around a screen.
How to easily teach both conceptual and practical coding
School don’t have to buy special software to create websites. In fact, there are many free optionsthat can be used to teach with.
You can build websites on any type of computer. Even older computers are more than powerful enough for web coding and programming. Windows, Mac, Chromebooks, Linux computers … can all be used.
Web design and programming skills are in high demand. Students come away with skills that have economic value, whether they enter the job market, become freelancers or start a company of their own.
Because of the aforementioned advantages:
Web languages teach both conceptual and practical coding.
Works on any computer.
Fun and engaging for students.
… I personally believe web based coding courses will become the preferred way to teach code in the classroom.
When it comes to teaching web design, what is a good alternative to Dreamweaver?
A few things to consider:
Most professional web designers DO NOT use Dreamweaver.
Teaching web design with Dreamweaver introduces an extra layer of complexity for no good reason. You have to teach BOTH Dreamweaver and web design.
Dreamweaver is expensive compared to many alternatives … especially considering the free software out there! 🙂
Side note: I’ve been teaching code and programming since 2003, and web design is a great vehicle that you can use to teach code with.
… Wed design is great (to teach code with) because it’s visual, easy to learn, and cross platform. Heavy tools like Dreamweaver try to hide the code from users, but that hides the most important aspect of learning web design: writing actual code!
Great code editors for your students
There are many great options to choose from that are free, and you have options for all types of computers:
Just a quick word about the soon to be released StudioWeb 4.0. This is an exciting release, because it is a total rewrite from scratch! The current StudioWeb 3 is bug free, and is working great in classrooms, but there comes a time when you have to start fresh.
… Steve Jobs famously made that decision, when he moved to OSX and retired OS9. Time has proven that it was a great move!
What’s special about StudioWeb 4?
StudioWeb 4 implements amazing new technology that brings more flexibility and speed to the StudioWeb software. Some of StudioWeb 4’s new features include:
District level reporting
More classroom management tools
Expanding and updating curriculum to include career oriented content
Updated video controls and more tablet friendly UI
More details will be released once StudioWeb 4 is made public.
… One teacher called me up recently, telling me how after the initial excitement student’s had moving characters around with code snippets, students fell into a pattern of typing in commands blindly to move the character, and quickly got bored.
In the end, students ended up not learning much of anything.
Teach real-world coding can be very fun for students!
When I first developed the StudioWeb program and curriculum 7 years ago, I wanted to teach students how to actually code real projects.
Most of the courses offered out there, are created by programmers who have no understanding of education. So they all fall back on the erroneous idea that to make coding fun, kids should use pseudo-code (fake code) or code snippets, to move characters in a game.
… But as I mentioned before, this type of course, doesn’t actually teach real coding. As any programmer / coder will tell you, it is the concepts behind the code that matters.
Have students write real code to learn code:
I come from a family of teachers, and have been developing code course since 2003. I was able to leverage that experience to produce a curriculum that is both engaging, and still teaches students how to write real code, using the most important computer languages today:
Added benefits (to students) learning to code:
I see the value in teaching coding beyond the obvious job opportunities:
Deferment of gratification
Digital awareness which can protect them from scams
So even if the kids don’t code in their future careers, they still have much to learn by learning to code.
But I also recognize that I am as biased as you can get!