Common Sense Review
Updated October 2014

Made with Code

Inspirational videos and fun projects entice girls to start coding
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Common Sense Rating 4
  • An interesting coding video leads off the site's main page.
  • Three of the five projects currently offered
  • One of the short mentor videos available on the site
  • A look into the Avatar project, with Blocky coding on the left
  • A look into the Accessorizer project, with Blocky coding on the left
Inspirational coding videos from both mentors and teens add value to the already entertaining intro-to-programming projects.
The projects are short and limited; after a few tutorials, students will need to move on to a different source for coding instruction.
Bottom Line
Girls will likely find it an engaging entrance into the world of coding; once hooked, they'll have to explore elsewhere to learn more.
Amy Cox
Common Sense Reviewer
Classroom teacher
Common Sense Rating 4
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 4

Students will find coding entertaining as they make music, create avatars, and customize pictures. Engagement may be short-lived as customization options are limited.

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

Learning is baked-in as students learn by coding with Blocky. The mentor videos also provide a larger worldview of coding to promote a greater understanding and motivation for coding.

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

Since tutorials are very limited, some students may want more support. Projects take students through the coding process step by step, but beyond this there's very little besides some examples.

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How Can Teachers Use It?

Made with Code would best be used as an introduction to programming. The coding projects are relatively short and engaging, so they could potentially serve as an entry point to get students interested in coding. One or two of the projects could be used in class, or students could choose which one(s) seem most interesting.

After grabbing students' attention with one or two of the Made with Code projects, you'll want to move students into a different coding platform, like Scratch, CodeAvengers, or Codecademy. Even if you don't use the site's coding projects, be absolutely sure to show your students the videos -- they're great! No matter their age or gender, all students will be able to find inspiration in the stories.

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What's It Like?

Google's Made with Code website aims to catch girls' interest in coding through a mixture of resources. First and foremost, Made with Code offers a variety of entertaining coding tutorials, though they are currently limited to just five options. These tutorials all use Blocky -- a common format for learning basic coding skills through the movement of blocks.

However, what really sets the site apart are the short mentor and maker videos. The mentor videos tell the inspirational stories of women coders, all of whom code for a variety of purposes, from nonprofit work to animation and even for dance. These provide students with a range of female role models in some typically male-dominated industries, such as video game design. The maker videos highlight the amazing coding projects of teen girls, such as the team who built a graffiti-reporting app to help clean up their neighborhood.

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Is It Good For Learning?

Made with Code's projects are fun and short. The biggest drawback is the fact that they're fairly limited -- they don't go very deep into the world of coding. The lessons are often simple, just barely scratching the surface of coding. The key is to know that Made with Code is a starting point only. Students will enjoy the projects for a while, but then will want more customization and freedom, which they'll need to find elsewhere.

In addition to their in-house projects, Made with Code also offers additional resources with tutorials students can try out using Scratch or Mozilla's Webmaker tools like Thimble and Popcorn Maker. The true gem of the site is that it includes great videos highlighting mentors and makers. The projects are a simple entry point into coding, but the videos are useful regardless of whether the Made with Code tutorials are used -- they're likely to be a rich supplement to any coding curriculum, for both girls and boys.

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See how teachers are using Made with Code

Lesson Plans