Teaching Codecademy

This was meant to be a temporary post – so I could easily publish some notes during eTwinning PDW 2014 workshop… but as I didn’t prepare any slides I’ll keep it up so it can be linked into conference materials. AND it can serve as template to my next lecture, titled “Teaching young hackers” that I’ll present on a conference taking place in my old school – where I learned to be hacker some 30 years back.

Codecademy was the main topic this time – but as discussed on Saturday in some smaller circles we should not ask “how can we use Codecademy in classroom”, as simply learning to code – or coding – shouldn’t be considered as the target. What are the cool / useful / fun things one could do with code – to create need for learning to code? Like – Minecraft is written in Java, but if you want to create mods you can start with simpler Javascript ScriptCraft mods … and JavaScript can be learned on Codecademy. Hmm, could we create a course for using ScriptCraft? (btw – Minecraft can be used for designing models that can be 3D-printed, see Printcraft and minecraft.print())

Or, for less game-minded – could solving Project Euler math problems be reason to learn programming? Could you do music or paint? Or could you evade surveillance – like in Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother (must-read, mostly culture not code)?

Also – please bear in mind, that programming might NOT be for everybody – as Jeff (who can program) explains in Why Can’t Programmers.. Program?. Let’s make sure all “we’ll teach all kids to code” projects (a) give all kids chance to understand if concept of coding is suitable for their mindset (b) take a wider approach and promote the idea that not everybody developing software is coder: we need at least us much designers, architects, technical writers, testers (you can break things and earn money!) etc.

Actual courses we looked at during workshop:

Playground for your own projects – http://labs.codecademy.com/

Or use (and learn from) http://codepen.io/ or http://jsfiddle.net/

Or open Developer Tools in your browser – or use https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/greasemonkey/http://tampermonkey.net/ plugins.

Or… look what Bret Victor thinks about tools we acutally need for teaching:


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