Website review by Jason Shiroff, Common Sense Education | Updated February 2017


Differentiated text-based coding makes for truly authentic experiences

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Based on 4 reviews
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62%| Warning Expert evaluation by Common Sense
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Pros: Lessons with a focus on actual text-based coding provide real-world programming experience for kids.

Cons: The text-heavy design might be intimidating and less supportive for new coders.

Bottom Line: The well-designed Python lessons and user interface make this a great choice for serious coding instruction.

Teachers can use Codesters as a standalone coding tutorial or for full class coding instruction. Students can work through the lessons without much teacher support; teachers can assign the lessons and let students move through the tutorials independently as an extension or homework option.

Another approach is to use Codesters as the foundation for a coding class. The detailed teacher lesson plans can be used to craft a coding unit, which includes direct teacher instruction and online learning. Having the teacher more involved with teaching Codesters will help support all learners and take advantage of the site's opportunities to customize the curriculum.

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Codesters provides authentic coding experiences within a well-designed platform. As with most other coding websites, students follow scaffolded tutorials to learn coding basics. What makes Codesters stand out is its focus on learning to code in Python, a professional programming language. The workspace is centered on a text-based code editor. Students learn to read, modify, and write their own code using a combination of drag-and-drop tools and typing directly into the Python code. Each lesson includes three phases: build, modify, and create. These phases move students from step-by-step instructions to a blank slate for creating their own projects.

Codesters includes a class page where work is shared between classmates for review and remixing. Both the student and teacher dashboards provide clear data; students can track their progress through each step of the lesson, and teachers can drill down into student data. Codesters also makes it easy to preview each lesson. Detailed written lessons plans are provided for teachers and include standards alignment, learning targets, differentiation ideas, and more.

Codesters is an excellent learning tool but better suited for students with strong reading skills. Students program using the tools of professionals, a text-based code editor, and an authentic programming language. The LMS provides useful data; each step of students' code is accessible to teachers so they can help troubleshoot or celebrate the progress. The comprehensive lesson plans can help teachers support their young coders, and the program offers many opportunities for creativity, differentiation, and assessment.

The flip side of using these text-based tools is that the coding may not be as accessible to all learners. Other coding platforms such as Scratch and Tynker provide more visual-based coding tutorials but lack the dashboard and differentiation built into Codesters.

Overall Rating


Each lesson includes customizable project-based activities. The workspace is colorful and well organized and helps student track their progress through the lessons.


Users learn to code directly in Python using a code editor. A helpful drag-and-drop toolkit is included, but the actual text code is always front and center. Lessons are well scaffolded and let kids differentiate and create.


Users are guided through each lesson with text-based tutorials and color-coded feedback. Codesters works best for strong readers since it's designed as a text-rich environment.

Common Sense reviewer
Jason Shiroff Classroom teacher

Community Rating

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Featured review by
Ellen G. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
PS 236
Brooklyn, United States
Teaching Kids Coding Beyond Blocks
This is a great tool to get students interested in writing text-based code. The ToolBox is helpful for the beginning, to allow the students to add the code, using the "block" format that many are familiar with, but the step-by-step instructions require them to edit the text and learn real Python code writing. Some of the later lessons get very intense and may lose students who are not fully committed to coding.
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Data Safety
How safe is this product?
Users can interact with trusted users and/or students.
Personal information is displayed publicly.
User-created content is not filtered for personal information before being made publicly visible.
Data Rights
What rights do I have to the data?
Users can create or upload content.
Processes to access and review user data are available.
Processes to modify inaccurate data are available.
Ads & Tracking
Are there advertisements or tracking?
Data are not shared for third-party advertising and/or marketing.
Unclear whether this product displays traditional or contextual advertisements.
Behavioral or targeted advertising is displayed.

Continue reading about this tool's privacy practices, including data collection, sharing, and security.

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