Top 10 Web Development Teaching Tips!

May 14, 2014
Posted in Classroom Stats


Between my ten years of teaching web development, and feedback from teachers using StudioWeb over the last year, I have put together this list of teaching tips that you might find useful in your classroom.

  1. Start with an easy language: 
Don’t use hard to understand languages like Java, C#, C++ to teach beginners programming! Stick to simpler languages like JavaScript, PHP or Python. Once your students have a grasp of basic programming concepts, then you can move onto the more complex languages.
  2. Don’t teach A to Z: Teaching people to code has a lot more to do about leaving out the non essential elements of a language. Don’t cover every nuanced aspect of the HTML link tag, don’t cover all the ways a method can be created in JavaScript… leave out the less often used aspects of a language and save it for later. Just expose your students to the key aspects of the language, just enough so they can move forward.
  3. Show your mistakes: I leave in mistakes (and make a few on purpose) so that students can see that making mistakes and writing code is normal. In fact, I have heard countless times from students that seeing me make mistakes made them feel more relaxed.
  4. Get to the coding:
 Get your students writing simple code as soon as possible- that is the best way to learn. I was once a theoretical master of JavaScript, where after having read a few books on the language, I could tell you everything you needed to know… but when I finally tried to write code, I immediately discovered all my theoretical knowledge was almost worthless in the real world!
  5. Break code:
 Encourage students to break their code once they’ve got it working. Seeing how a language reacts to broken code is part of the process of learning to code. Creating errors in code is very educational and soon enough, your students will start to better understand the errors.
  6. Use the tools of coding- code editors and browser developer tools: Too often, code training courses try to hide the actual apps coders use from students.
  7. Use analogies: People love analogies! One of my classic analogies is to compare different classes of languages to different classes of automobiles to answer a simple question: why are there so many programming languages out there?
  8. Small Bytes:
 Keep your learning segments small! We live in the YouTube generation where 6 minutes is a long, long time to focus on one subject- especially for teens! For courses created in 2014, I try to keep my videos under 4 minutes … targeting 2-3 minutes. Yes, I misspelled bites on purpose!
  9. Save time:
 Use the flipped classroom teaching method. Why teach the same basic concepts over and over again when you could be spending your time helping individual students or creating more interesting projects for your classes to work on.
  10. The big picture brings clarity:
 Give students context with regards to the particular language or technology you are teaching. So for example, show them how PHP fits into the web development stack… how does PHP relate to JavaScript, HTML and CSS?

I hope you find these tips useful. Thanks for reading,

Stefan Mischook

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