How I Use It
Even though a game-like product like this might be aimed at younger users, I use it with high school students in a class they have taken to avoid a full-on programming course. This is the first of several coding activities I have students use to become familiar with the syntax and elements of programming language structure. They really love it. It gives them immediate feedback and recommendations for improvement if they haven't achieved all three stars for an activity. The interface doesn't require a lot of reading, so students of all levels would find this accessible. In addition, the fun aspect made students comfortable helping one another through coaching and hints if they ever got stuck.
Since I use a number of coding games and activities with my programming-shy students, I can compare CodeMonkey to those other experiences. What I like best about CodeMonkey is its engagement level, fun graphics and music, and most importantly the realistic coding students do in a text-based editor. They can also use shortcut buttons to fill in pieces of the code they've learned. This means students can choose to use the buttons or type, whichever is preferable for each student. Once I got the kids started, they didn't really need me much anymore. They taught themselves, and the game-like quality made them willing to take risks and persevere. I challenged them to always earn all the possible stars, which sometimes meant they had to try multiple times, but it also meant they achieved great satisfaction from their accomplishments. When they did ask me for help, I was able to drop hints, for example, suggesting "moon walking" when they had not thought of having a monkey walk backwards rather than take extra steps to turn around and walk forward.