Common Sense Review
Updated February 2017

Codesters

Differentiated text-based coding makes for truly authentic experiences
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Common Sense Rating 5
Teacher Rating (1 Teacher Review) 5
  • Coding projects can be shared and remixed.
  • The student dashboard provides a clear view of projects and progress.
  • Users follow each step in the lesson to create and modify Python code.
  • The project gallery can spark creativity.
  • A text-based code editor is front and center for users.
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.
Jason Shiroff
Common Sense Reviewer
Classroom teacher
Common Sense Rating 5
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 5

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

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 5

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.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 4

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.

About our ratings and privacy evaluation.
How Can Teachers Use It?

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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What's It Like?

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.

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Is It Good For Learning?

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.

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