KillerPHP Blog

Curriculum

Coding Courses that Teach Real Code!

November 17, 2017

Writing snippets of JavaScript to move a character 2 steps to the left, doesn’t teach kids anything about programming … at best, it’s a cheap replacement for an xbox controller.

… 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:

  • HTML5
  • CSS3
  • JavaScript
  • Python
  • PHP
  • SQL

Added benefits (to students) learning to code:

I see the value in teaching coding beyond the obvious job opportunities:

  1. Logical thinking
  2. Problem solving
  3. Deferment of gratification
  4. Organizational skills
  5. Digital awareness which can protect them from scams

… Etc.

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!

Stef Mischook
StudioWeb

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Learning to Teach a Python Course

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?”

Whether you are teaching Python, JavaScript or just a basic web design class, with the StudioWeb app and curriculum, the real truth of the matter is, it take practically no PD at all!

🙂

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!

Stefan
StudioWeb

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What Yale’s Socially Assistive Robots and StudioWeb have in Common

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:

html course badge studioweb

  • 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!

Stefan Mischook
StudioWeb.com

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Complete Web Design Curriculum for 2018

July 26, 2017

StudioWeb first entered the classroom nearly 7 years ago! In that time, we’ve listened to teachers and students, as we continued to refine both the StudioWeb software, and course curriculum.

Our current coding foundation courses:

  • Beginners HTML
  • Beginners CSS
  • Beginners JavaScript
  • Beginners Python
  • Beginners PHP

StudioWeb might be the most effective teaching tool today for teaching web design and programming. But, I admit that I am biased! 🙂

That said, our system is so effective, teachers will tell you that StudioWeb does most of the teaching, while they simply facilitate!

This is made possible because of the tight integration between the StudioWeb software, and our custom designed courses. They work hand-in-hand to produce the outstanding outcomes with students.

Flexible Lesson Plans

One of the lessons we’ve learned over the years, is that you have to have a flexible lesson plan structure, if you want to make a coding class effective. Teachers inevitably find themselves with students who have a range of talent, and so it is important that the curriculum doesn’t get in the way of teaching.

… Fixed daily lesson plans can create headaches for teachers.

Leveraging the spiral teaching method, and a self-paced lesson structure, a StudioWeb classroom provides a flexible structure that yields results with students of all abilities. Our outstanding student outcomes, is why we have a 100% renewal rate. StudioWeb works.

If you would like to try a demo or you have any questions, feel free to contact us.

Stefan Mischook

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Open Ended Lesson Plans for Code Courses

March 3, 2017

The most effective lesson plans for coding classes are open ended. What we’ve discovered over the years, is that successful and easy to run coding classes, adopt an open ended structure, where students can learn at their own pace.

… Trying to force students to learn coding in unison on a daily basis, is not only unrealistic, you are creating a situation where many problems can arise.

Open ended lessons that leverages the spiral teaching method

The spiral teaching method is perfectly suited to teaching code. As such, the StudioWeb curriculum and application are designed around the spiral teaching method. This is expressed within each course, but also across the core curriculum, that includes the foundation web design languages:

  • HTML5
  • CSS3
  • JavaScript

The spiral teaching method also makes open ended lesson plans easier to implement. Both strategies are a natural fit.

StudioWeb makes code easy to teach and easy to learn!

With StudioWeb, teachers will be able to keep all the students busy and engaged, and nobody will be left behind. Since students can learn at their own pace, and get instant help and feedback from the StudioWeb software, students will not feel pressure from their classmates.

After six years of real-world classroom use and refinements, StudioWeb makes it easy for any teacher to successfully lead coding classes, even those without any coding skills themselves!

If you will like to try a demo or have any questions, feel free to contact us.

Stefan Mischook
StudioWeb

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