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Review by Erin Brereton, Common Sense Education | Updated July 2013

LearnStreet

Helpful hands-on instruction guides budding programmers at any level

Common Sense says
Teachers say (1 Review)
$avg_user_learning_rating
Grades
9-12 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: Lessons are clear and highly interactive; kids are guided step by step through each exercise.

Cons: Hints and written materials provide excellent support, but the live chat feature doesn’t seem to always be an option.

Bottom Line: LearnStreet offers smart, structured programming lessons and admirable support to help kids learn independently while teachers oversee their progress.

When you sign up for a teacher account, you'll be able to set up a LearnStreet classroom and add students' email addresses. If students don't have email accounts (or don't want to share them), the site will provide a class code to enroll with. You can create your own coding course curriculum or use one of the site's suggested versions. Coding assignments were designed with computer science, math, and science classes in mind; teachers can access more than 150 hours of content, including lessons, practice exercises, and coding projects.

You can also track students' progress on the site. Detailed statistics show individual students' performances, including a feature that highlights any areas where the student may be falling behind the rest of the class. And more features may be on the way: The beta version of the educator site premiered in July 2013; a full version is expected by August.

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Editor's Note: LearnStreet has closed and is no longer available.

LearnStreet features free, interactive courses designed to teach teens how to write code. You can study Ruby, Python, and JavaScript programming languages and learn basic code concepts like functions, loops, and variables. Practice writing code in the site’s Code Garage, which provides programming projects. The courses are well-organized and easy to follow. You can look at an overview of what a section entails and look up coding terms, and the site walks you through each step of the lesson. The learning experience is particularly hands-on; you're asked to key in coding examples, and the system then explains why a result occurred. You can also get hints along the way if you get confused.

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Teens will need to commit some time to finish the tutorials and be able to code independently: According to LearnStreet, courses, on average, take from three to five days to complete. However, they’ll receive badges as they finish sections, which provides some encouragement, and the lesson instruction is written in a friendly, supportive tone that often prompts them to continue. (The system responds to correct answers with chipper statements like, “Great job!”)

Unlike some other coding instruction sites, LearnStreet offers a significant amount of personalized attention and feedback. The courses were created for complete beginners and feature helpful tools, including written information about the concepts that are covered and chat support. Administrators aren’t available 24/7, but if they’re offline, users can email questions and are told they’ll get a quick response.

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Overall Rating
4

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
4

Kids stay motivated through encouraging feedback as well as badges for completing sections. They're prompted to write code examples and get an immediate response with a request to continue.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
4

Kids learn coding basics in lessons that get progressively more complex and provide more challenges. Programming also reinforces computer science and math principles, such as functions, and kids learn to achieve goals and use logic.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?
3

A blog offers additional programming instruction and information. Teachers can access dozens of coding courses, and a separate Code Garage section features beginner, intermediate, and advanced games and other projects.


Teacher Reviews

5
(See all 1 reviews) (1 reviews)
Featured review by
Joanna S. , Technology coordinator
Technology coordinator
Dike-New Hartford High School
Dike, IA
5
Great site to get started with JavaScript, Python, and Ruby programming languages.

Many students would like to learn how to program but do not have teachers with the requisite knowledge to help them. LearnStreet is a free platform where teachers can create classes and assign students lessons and projects to learn JavaScript (an industry standard), Python, and Ruby programming languages. With step-by-step tutorials, students can progress at their own pace. Because it is online, students can also work during their free time. As a teacher who is also learning to program, LearnStreet has better helped me explain programming concepts. I am learning with and from my students as well.

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