Code Product Review

Code Product Review post thumbnail image

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Hey everyone! I’m back and today we’ll be talking about coding courses and learning.

While Ag Tech STEAM does provide some cool STEAM activities, including coding, some of you may want more. I always want MORE!

Ag Tech Steam review, its been awhile, but I am back, this time with a triple whammy, in this blog post I am reviewing products from Kids Code Jeunesse (and Code Club), White Hat Jr, and Best Buy Geek Squad as well as Khan Academy.

Starting the post off, Best Buy Geek Squad Quick Activities, these are fairly short and simple, but can offer significant challenge to those who have little experience, it has small modules dedicated to specific things like photography, HTML, binary.  It’s a great way to sample lots of different things to see what you might want to learn more about. Overall, if you have the ability and the time, this is sure worth your time, and its free! Who could say no to that?

Next up we have the courses through Kids Code Jeunesse, these mostly require microbits, but you can just do it the editor and use the emulator, their courses are very good for beginners and intermediate. The drag and drop microbit coding is very fun for all ages, and the software lets you see how it looks in the coding languages which can really help you learn.  They also partner with Code Club which offers even more coding courses, classes and experiences. With Covid 19 making learning at home more common these are a great way to access coding from an awesome Canadian organization. You order micobits and they have a lot of fun learning capabilities so don’t worry that you’d get bored or run out of things to do with them! Trust me that’s not possible!

Khan Academy has some really cool courses around coding – including some animation studio classes that are awesome.  Khan Academy is a great place to start your coding journey and learning about different ways to use code. It tracks your progress and that’s always nice for the adults to see. As with all things Khan Academy they are also a free resource.

Finally we have White Hat Jr, this an excellently handled one on one class, with game development, excellent for intermediate and advanced, even beginners, the teachers are all excellent and the first class is very important and good. They have the advantage of a one to one learning environment. The downside of White Hat Jr. falls into two categories – one is price. The courses, even with their ‘scholarship’ discount are quite expensive and can be time consuming. The second is their very aggressive marketing to get students to sign up. The phone calls have become more frustrating than encouraging for my parents, which takes some of the shine off of their potentially good content.

The most important things I look for when choosing a coding course, and I’ve taken some classes from online universities and through companies like Unity, are: Quality, Cost, Value and Outcomes.

What is the quality of teaching you’ll be getting – will you feel like you can move to the next level or does the learning dead end with a single project?

Cost – it isn’t free to create coding content and courses, so charging for them isn’t an issue if there is good value to what you are paying. Is it a certificate course, are you going to be able to continue learning or create something like an app, website or game. Cost and value go hand in hand – be sure to ask lots of questions and do your research. Sometimes the cost is your time – you can get to the end of a class and feel like it was a waste, or you can be excited for the next thing you’ll learn.

Outcomes – what is the goal and are you going to achieve it? It might be to create your first microbit animation or maybe a science project, website, app or animation.

What are your favorite ways to learn code? I always want to explore and learn so we can add new things to the Content Packs and STEAM activities. Share your favorite project or learning site! We want to hear from you!

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