Review by Jenny Bristol, Common Sense Education | Updated August 2019

Codecademy

Terrific coding site a fun way to learn real-world skills

Subjects & skills
Subjects
  • Science

Skills
  • Creativity
  • Critical Thinking
  • College & Career Prep
Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
7–12
Great for:
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (36 Reviews)

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Pros: A completely intuitive interface, a wide variety of courses, and instant feedback within the lessons.

Cons: Pro accounts are required for more than just a basic level of instruction.

Bottom Line: For both introductory and higher skill levels, Codecademy teaches the breadth and depth of skills for the modern computer field workplace.

Teachers can use Codecademy with any students who are interested in learning more about computer science, coding, application development, data science, or related topics, whether for in-class lessons, personal interest, or career exploration. It will be most useful for advanced students; lessons are appropriate for students with basic computer knowledge and strong reading skills. In the classroom, students can work alone or, when they've completed a track, collaborate to solve complex problems and build more sophisticated applications. The projects are a perfect simulation of a computer engineer's working environment. Overall, Codecademy is a fabulous introduction to a fast-growing career path as well as to skills that students can use to build websites and applications.

It's easy for both teachers and students to jump right into Codecademy. There's nothing to install, with the entire lesson right there in the interface. Start by exploring what Codecademy has to offer, and then introduce your students to what they can learn on the site, along with what they can do with what they learn. Then have students choose a topic to explore. If your school's budget allows, the Pro subscription provides for deeper learning in career and skill paths, rather than just a surface introduction; there's a 7-day free trial for Pro.

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Codecademy is a one-stop shop for learning computer science, coding, web development, and other skills that can help students further their education or work toward employment goals. There are both free and paid (Pro) options, with the free option allowing students access to basic lessons in HTML/CSS, Python 2, JavaScript, Java, C#, R, PHP, SQL, C++, Ruby, and more, covering computer science, data science, application development, web development, machine learning, etc. The free interactive lessons within these courses are sufficient for students to figure out if they want to pursue a topic further, or if a particular language or course will help them achieve their goals. But the free options don't allow for much in-depth learning or real-world practice.

Within each lesson, the left side of the screen includes reading and instructions, the middle of the screen is the coding workspace, and the right side of the screen has the output. Students implement the lessons, run the programs, and see instant results and feedback. There are plenty of hints along the way if needed, and incorrect attempts are gently corrected. The interface also includes an optional focus timer.

Those with a Pro subscription have access to substantially more material, including the projects, quizzes, and other features for the free courses, as well as member-exclusive courses, extra practice, real-world projects, and access to the Pro-specific member community where students can collaborate and share resources with other users. Also available to Pro users are road maps designed for career and skill paths, making it easy for students to reach their specific goals. The user dashboard displays lessons worked on that day, courses in progress, and recommended projects and quizzes (for Pro users).

The self-paced design makes Codecademy a perfect extension of classroom activities for students ready for more. The overall design is easy to use, and the lessons expertly demonstrate the tools and provide immediate feedback as students experiment. The lessons have the trifecta of perfectly paced instruction, live feedback as students execute commands, and tips for taking things further.

Even with a free account, Codecademy has students writing and editing real code right from the beginning. The well-designed interface is simple to navigate and information is well organized, making it easy even  for intimidated students to jump right in. There's no learning curve for the lessons; it's all self-contained. Simply read the instructions on the left, implement them in the middle, click Run, and see the output on the right. The instructions are broken down step by step, and students can't move on until they've successfully implemented an instruction and the next step automatically unlocks. There are plenty of helpful hints along the way, and incorrect implementations are automatically given additional help. Students can also play around in the workspace section, clicking Run whenever they want to try out something new.

For those who want to dig deeper without a Pro account, or for those who just need a bit of help, the regular forums provide a fair amount of expertise, and there are also some FAQs and some informational articles.

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

With a well-designed interface and easy-to-understand instruction, Codecademy has students writing and editing code right away. Being able to see immediate results in the output screen keeps students' interest piqued.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

The learning is self-led, making it easy for students to work at their own pace. Being able to immediately try out what they learn keeps students building on this new knowledge.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

The lessons themselves are well crafted, and the hints along the way, user forums, FAQs, and articles also support the offerings as a whole.


Teacher Reviews

(See all 36 reviews) (36 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Chris R. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Immaculate Conception School
Towson, United States
Great tool and easy to understand.
For this website, I would highly recommend it. I knew nothing about coding before I started and before my students started. I now have already gained skills in both HTML and CSS and am able to understand and read code. I caution using this in middle school as you may as well tell the students the name of the lesson is Hacking 101. I feel this way about all coding websites. Codecademy is a great tool to use in the high school level in programming classes and computer classes. ...
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