KillerPHP Blog

Classroom Stats

Python Course for Middle School

February 6, 2017

I am happy to announce that we will be releasing a new course for schools: Powerful Python 3. Part of our collection of coding courses, designed specially for classroom learning.

Powerful Python 3 is designed for students (and teachers) who are totally new to code! The course is made up of easy to follow video lessons, followed by fun and effective quizzing and code challenges.

… Like all StudioWeb courses, we provide a complete curriculum that includes projects, a grading rubric and our powerful auto-grading system that provides accurate grades by course, chapter and lesson.

StudioWeb’s Python course will finally make learning and teaching Python, easy for the novice coder.

Please feel to contact us if you have any questions!

Stefan Mischook

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How Does StudioWeb Align with the Nine Themes of Digital Citizenship?

January 26, 2016


Digital citizenship can be defined as the norms of appropriate, responsible behaviour with regard to technology use.

How does StudioWeb fit in?

Of the Digital Citizenship themes, Studioweb would fall under Digital Literacy.

With the StudioWeb curriculum, students learn much more than just how to code- they learn how the web, itself, works. For example:

  • Students learn about home computers vs. server computers.
  • Students learn about the different apps used in web design and development.
  • They learn the relationships and roles of the computer languages used to build websites and web apps.

… And much more.

You can learn more about the 9 Themes of Digital Citizenship here.


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StudioWeb’s Automatic Grading

January 23, 2016


For 2016, we’ve expanded StudioWeb’s automatic grading to include:

  • Grades by course
  • Grades by chapter
  • Grades by lesson

… All the detail you need to manage the classroom. This is in addition to our trending grade that keeps a running total of student performance.

The grades are generated from tracking student interaction with the course material. In fact, we use a few data points, and that provides very accurate assessments.

Happy New Year!


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Why Teach Code with PHP, and not Python?

February 15, 2015


UPDATE: In 2016, if I had to choose only one programming language to teach, it would be JavaScript. That said, PHP is still a great option, but I would teach it after JavaScript. I recently wrote about why JavaScript is now my first choice.

Back to the original article:

These days, Python and Ruby are popular programming languages with the tech startup crowd, and so, many of the venture capital backed ‘teach code’ startups, have ruby or python courses targeted at kids.

The problem is that these are not the best languages to teach programming with- especially with people who are new to programming. So, why is PHP better?

1. PHP is easier to learn:

Python and Ruby are object-oriented languages at their core, so to do anything with the languages, you really have to understand object-oriented theory and principles. This adds an unnecessary level of complexity to new learners.

Yes, modern software development is largely object-oriented, but my 10+ years experience in teaching web development has taught me that it is better to teach basic programming concepts and techniques before adding the OOP (object-oriented programming) layer.

PHP has both an object-oriented layer and a much less complex layer that is ideal for teaching programming to new learners- especially younger students.

2. With PHP, it’s easier do real things.

With PHP, because it was designed specifically for the web, you can create web apps fairly quickly. On top of that, getting PHP apps live is also trivial- just upload the files to a PHP enabled server, and you are done. Try that with Ruby or Python!

Ruby and Python were not designed with web apps in mind. They were put together more as general purpose languages and have been adapted for the web. Yes, they are both excellent languages, but there is that additional layer of complexity when it comes time to actually creating a web app and going live.

These days, if you are creating apps, they are most likely web apps! So this is relevant.

3. PHP is BY FAR the most used web development language – it’s not even close!

If you are looking to put practical skills into your students’ hands, then PHP is easily the best choice. Check out this simple stat: over 80% of dynamic websites, that is to say, websites that are also web apps, are created with PHP. Ruby and Python together may add up to 7%.

In fact, what I hear from new programmers time and time again (after they learn Python or Ruby) is they discover that they have to learn PHP, since there are so many more jobs in the PHP world.

Consider this next stat: WordPress runs about 23% of the world’s websites!! Add in Joomla and Drupal (two other popular CMS’) and we are probably close to 30% of the world’s websites being run by 3 web apps created with… PHP!

…There is no equivalent in the Ruby or Python world.

The point here is that there is a huge ecosystem in PHP that no other language comes close to. When selecting technologies, we all know from the Apple Appstore, that the ecosystem is hugely important. It’s a big reason why iPhone is so successful.


It seems clear that if you want to teach kids (adults too!) more easily and you want them to be able to easily see their code actually do something real, PHP is the obvious choice.

Add in the market viability of the language and the growing probability that Ruby will slowly fall into a micro niche (it’s already niche IMHO), then there is really no argument. You can see why StudioWeb teaches programming with PHP.

Final note:

I chose to teach programming with PHP in 2004, NOT because I was a PHP programmer zealot. I’ve written software in 8 or so languages, I am language agnostic. In fact, my favourite language for years was Java… I’ve written more lines of Java code than any other language.

No, I still chose PHP to teach programming because it was the best choice.

I hope you find this helpful.

Stefan Mischook

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StudioWeb Used in STEM Education Programs in Northeastern United States

July 11, 2014



I am happy to announce that StudioWeb is now being used as part of STEM education programs in the northeastern US.

StudioWeb (that’s us!) continues to work with K12, community colleges, cultural centers and vocational schools to provide an easy-to-understand curriculum in modern web design and programming.

Our courses are effective because experienced teachers designed them– not 20yr software developers.

Over the last two years, the StudioWeb team has worked in the field with teachers and thousands of students to continue to refine StudioWeb’s features and courses.

If you are interested in a turn-key interactive training system for web design and programming, please feel free to check out


Stefan Mischook

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