November 17, 2017
… 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:
- Logical thinking
- Problem solving
- Deferment of gratification
- Organizational skills
- 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!
September 7, 2017
One of the first questions teachers ask us:
” … how long will the PD be, in terms of learning how to teach a code class?”
Teacher and Student Feedback
It has taken us 6-7 years to polish our app and curriculum, but StudioWeb has been refined to be amazingly easy to teach a code class with … so, there isn’t much prep required. Teachers are happy to discover how quickly they feel comfortable leading a code class with StudioWeb.
In a nutshell, the prep with StudioWeb is:
- Watch our PD videos on setting up a StudioWeb class. It’s really, really easy since you just have to give account ids to students.
- You can do the course(s) as a student does them … to get familiar. Since StudioWeb has a powerful hinting system … students can never get stuck, which means you never have to answer code questions. So even doing this is not really required.
- Since SW does all the grading automatically, you don’t even need to grade!
If you would like to learn more about teaching code with StudioWeb, you know what to do!
August 21, 2017
A teacher called yesterday looking for a web design course that teaches real web design coding skills. Like other teachers I’ve personally spoken to, she understood that dragging around blocks on screen, where the app writes the code for the student, is not nearly as effective as the student actually writing the code!
… Teachers quickly discover that students don’t learn much about coding with blocks. 🙁
So many code courses fallback on the misguided practice of using block-based teaching apps, thinking that this is helping students. As the teacher observed herself, with these systems, students quickly get bored and just follow the pattern.
Teaching code by having students write the code
Motivate your students!
Nothing motivates a student like seeing their code produce actual real-world results!
With the StudioWeb web design curriculum, your students interest levels will skyrocket, as they quickly see their code magically transform into websites that flex and flow on small smartphones, all the way up to giant 4k displays.
… Web developers call that ‘responsive’ design and your students will learn those marketable skills with StudioWeb.
If you would like to learn more, check out StudioWeb.com
August 10, 2017
Getting your web design class up and running is easy with StudioWeb.
The steps are:
- We set up your StudioWeb classroom(s), where each student gets their own user ID.
- Teachers give students their IDs, and they log in and start with the HTML course.
- As your students watch the videos and answer quiz questions, the StudioWeb software tracks their progress auto generating grades for you by course, chapter and even the lesson!
- You have the option to assign them projects that we provide. The projects start on ch3 of the HTML course.
- We provide an easy to use grading rubric for the projects. Even teachers who don’t know code, can accurately assess student work with help of the grading rubric. Using the projects is optional, since the StudioWeb auto grading is very accurate.
It is practically impossible for students to get stuck on a lesson, given how the StudioWeb app and courses are designed. But, if ever a question should come up (and you don’t have an answer,) the course creator (Stefan) will be able to answer questions the same day.
… I make it a point to be in contact with teachers. I am able to do this since we get so few questions!
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
August 2, 2017
I was reading an article on Yale University’s research with socially assistive robotics, that help to teach kids. The main points I got out of the article:
- Robots learn and adapt to individual student need.
- Students are motivated when the learning process is turned into a game. A little competition is very motivating for many students. Otherwise known as gamification.
- When students work one-on-one with a robot, they are not afraid to answer questions, since all the students are busy working with their own robots.
- The robots look like fun toys.
This is interesting to me, because the StudioWeb app and curriculum, has been developed with an awareness of the above lessons.
StudioWeb’s experience reflects Yale’s:
StudioWeb’s software shares similar traits (if you will) with Yale’s socially assistive robots. StudioWeb is a gamified app where students learn to code, as they unlock levels, earn badges and score points. Students work on their own computers, at their own pace, and so they don’t have to worry about social pressures.
Understanding the importance of the emotional component of teaching, each of our courses are represented by fun and cool animals: two frogs, a sheep, a spider and a python. Each animal also becomes the course badge students can earn. Finally, we add to the learning process fun, with the gaming aspect, and good old fashioned humour.
… Students come away smiling and giggling as they learn to code.
StudioWeb does not replace teachers … but we help!
From the article:
“You may have a public school where there are 25 to 30 kids in a classroom and the amount of time that the teacher can spend one-on-one with each child is relatively limited,” said Scassellati in an interview with R&D Magazine.
Socially assistive robots free up teachers time, so they can concentrate their efforts where it might be needed – say students who made need special attention. This is a far better approach than trying to teach a classroom as they did in Plato’s time.
In a nutshell: the core lessons need not be taught over and over again by the teacher. That’s where assistive technology (robots and apps) come into play.
StudioWeb provides the same benefit. We’ve designed our curriculum and app, in such a way that it is nearly impossible for students to get stuck on a coding lesson, whether it be theory or actual coding. As such, students happily work through the video based lessons, without having to ask the teacher questions that have been asked countless times.
Rather than using an Ai, we’ve been able to refine our lessons over the last several years, eliminating the common questions, by addressing them in the lessons themselves.
… Good old fashioned teaching my father taught me, combined with data from a few hundred thousand students and your courses start to get really good!