To get the best outcomes with students (and yourself!), here are my top 3 code teaching tips:
1- Write real code, not ‘lego’ code.
2- Use real coding tools, not code simulators.
3- Build real projects from start to finish.
1. Write real code, not ‘lego’ code
A funny thing happens when students write real code: they start to learn not only how to code, but they learn the concepts behind the code. What I’ve seen over the years is that trying to hide the code from students with block based code teaching tools slows the learning process.
I was reading an article on the debate in Florida, whether to allow kids to learn code instead of a foreign language. I can offer some perspective here, since I am a coder who speaks English and French.
What has been more valuable in my life: knowing French, or knowing how to code?
Coding has easily been the most valuable skill for me.
But if my second language was English (rather than French,) maybe the tables would be turned. I say this because though French is a great language, and I think the more spoken languages you know the better, French has limited use on the world’s stage. English though, is the language of business … it is a must learn.
Coding is much more like English, it too is an international language of sorts. Knowing how to code has many positive impacts on your life, even if you don’t become a coder!
So I bought the Surface Pro 4 shortly after it came out, something I rarely do, because it’s dangerous to buy new tech products when they first come out. So after a couple of months of use, I can tell you that Surface Pro 4 is both very cool and annoying.
Microsoft got the perfect blend of full computer and tablet. Amazing!
The pen is great – I take a lot of notes by hand. Love it!
Great screen and the kick-stand is HUGE!
Whatever you do, don’t put it in sleep mode – many times, it doesn’t wake up and you have to restart. And that’s a pain because the Surface Pro gives you no indicator as to what’s going on.
The Surface Doc (that cost $250) doesn’t work half the time. It has troubles driving USB devices and even the monitor.
Some general minor flakiness: sometimes the touchscreen doesn’t work (you have to restart,) sometimes the pen doesn’t work … you have to restart.
Mouse pointer and UI element size issues: sometimes the mouse pointer looks like one of those giant foam hands you see at a football game. Other times, app buttons are so tiny, you need to buy a magnifying glass to see them. I’ve confirmed these issues weren’t the fault of the apps, because in other Windows 10 machines, this problem does not exist. It is Surface Pro 4.
So overall, it is a great computer that is in late beta. Please fix this otherwise great product Microsoft.
Studioweb allows teachers to take on the role of a classroom facilitator, as students learn to code with the tools that coders use, while building real websites and web apps that work on both smartphones and traditional computers.
Killersites.com will be officially 20 yrs old this March. This makes it one of the first web design, and code training sites on the Web!
What’s it like to clean up a 20yr old website?
Cleaning up a 20yr old web site, is like cleaning up your (recently deceased) 93yr old aunt’s attic – it’s full of old junk!
Since Killersites.com falls into that ‘dead old aunt’s attic’ category, whenever I do a cleanup, I just do what Microsoft does with each new version of Office, I just create a new layer on top.
… Why do you think Office has gone from a hundreds megs, to a few gigs?
This reminds us why using a CMS makes sense:
These days, for content heavy sites, I would never NOT use a CMS. Besides being able to easily add new content to your site, a CMS will make it MUCH easier to keep the look and the feel of the website up to date. Just change the visual template (WordPress calls these ‘themes’,) and your whole site has the new look, and any new header and footer text you need.
Everyone knows that you should be constantly training your brain, especially as you get older.
Why is learning to code, much better than Luminosity?
Learning new skills gives you maximum brain training impact. Not playing a game that is doing same thing, over and over again.
Learning to code will actually teach you valuable skills! Skills that can get you great paying jobs – part-time or fulltime.
The science is clear, if you really want to keep your mind nimble, you have to challenge your brain with new things. Not only will learning to code train your brain, it will also give you a valuable skill that is in super high demand!
… Why work at Walmart, when you can code from the comfort of your home, and earn much more money for your time!
Full disclosure: I own the interactive code training system Studioweb, and I’ve been teaching web design and coding since 2003.
… I don’t know about playing games, but I do remember from university (I majored in psychology,) … that learning a new skill, is a great way to help the brain. When you introduce the brain to new concepts, or expose your body to new motor skills, you are basically telling the brain, we need more brain power to survive! So the body adapts accordingly.
So if you want to stay mentally sharp, exercise the brain by learning new skills. I would suggest both physical and mental skills. Don’t do the same old same.
Playing a game, or learning a skill?
Since I’ve never used them, I really can’t say what impact Luminosity (or any other brain-games,) has on the brain. But what I would say, instead of playing a game, why not help the brain by learning a valuable skill!
Coding for baby boomers
Instead of playing games (that might not help the brain much it seems,) you’d be better off learning to code to stimulate the brain. At the same time, you will be learning a valuable skill that is in huge demand!