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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.Continue reading Show less
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.