Friday, October 2, 2020

Learning to Code with Simply Coding {A Homeschool Review Crew Review}

 Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

Tabitha has been interested in coding for at least a year now. She had taken out a book on the topic from the library a while ago, but of course, that had to be returned. I have tried to encourage this interest, as I realize how important knowledge of computers is these days. So, when the opportunity arose through the Homeschool Review Crew to review the Coding for Kids Annual Membership from Simply Coding, I was quite excited. And when we learned we could have three family member accounts, hubby and I were both thrilled, because that meant Amelia could also get to try it, and so could the hubby. 

Simply Coding offers both single student memberships and family memberships for homeschoolers. Additionally they have curriculum for schools. You can even try out the course with a 10 day free trial period. This membership gives your student(s) unlimited access to the entire pathway of courses. In addition to the Simply Coding pathway, there are three additional pathways: Simply Media, Simply Tech Essential, and Simply Tech4Kids.

In the Simply Coding pathway, there is a "Just for Fun" course (Minecraft Mods in Java), along with Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced courses. As you can see in the screenshot above, three of the courses are light gray, while the others are dark gray. The light gray courses are the beginner courses which are initially unlocked. In order to unlock the more advanced courses, the beginner courses need to be completed. 

The Simply Media pathway includes such courses as Digital Photography, Digital Videography, Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop, and Camtasia Studio 8, among others, and more advanced courses. 

The Simply Tech Essentials pathway includes Microsoft Excel - Fundamentals, Build Your Own Computer, Prezi, Microsoft Powerpoint, and more.

And the Simply Tech4Kids pathway includes Intro to Electronics, Intro to Programming: Scratch Parts 1 and 2, Blogging 4Kids (which Amelia is interested in),  Photography 4Kids, Internet Safety 4Kids, and more.

I actually hadn't realized how many different courses Simply Coding had available. However, as we had wanted to review the coding, we started with the Simply Coding pathway. I wasn't sure if my girls would prefer JavaScript Game Design or Intro to Web Development, though I was leaning toward the Game Design. Imagine my surprise when they both decided to start with Intro to Web Development.

Let's look at how the Intro to Web Development course is set up. 

There are eight lessons, and they contain from two to six sections. You can navigate to previous lessons by clicking on the blue lessons tab on the left side of the screen, which will pull out the menu. Clicking on each lesson's folder will show the different sections of the lessons. Each lesson also has a quiz which must be successfully passed before moving on to the next lesson. 

The course starts with a welcome and introduction, explaining how the course will work. The instructor makes sure to mention that the gray arrows on the slides will move the student through the slides in that section of the lesson, where the "Prev" and "Next" buttons at the bottom of the screen will take the student on to the next lesson. And the student will need to download certain files, their workspace folder. My husband helped the children with the downloading

For the interactive lessons themselves, the student can read through the information in the slides, clicking and typing when prompted to. They can also click the green "Click Here For Video Review" to have the instructor give a run down of the lesson. 

My girls didn't realize at first that watching the video would help them understand the lesson, so they were struggling. Once they realized they were supposed to watch the videos, the lessons made a lot more sense to them. As I am a hands-on learner, I really do appreciate that even though they are on a computer, the lessons are just things they are reading and watching, they get to interact with this program and they are learning to write their own code following the instructions, understanding it as they go, and actually have websites they are developing. 

Here's a look at the how the video appears on the screen. It can be enlarged to full screen, but I also like that the student can keep it small so they can see their slides.

And as they work, their text editor, Sublime, can be right on the screen with their lesson.

Here is the first project the girls were working on. They learned how different HTML tags manipulated the text.

Here is Amelia's:

And here is Tabitha's

And then they started working on their own websites. They are both obsessed with animes, so they are focusing their websites on some of their favorites. 

Here's a look at what Amelia has so far:

She has really enjoyed making her website and even though she struggled at first, she is understanding it better now. She appreciates being able to follow the  instructors instructions and pause the video to pull up her text editor and copy what he did. 

Tabitha has been working through the course a bit slower as she wants to make sure she comprehends what she is being taught. She is also enjoying it so far, and also mentioned appreciating that she could pause the video to keep up. 

Personally, I am quite impressed with what they are learning and very thankful for the chance for the girls to learn such an important skill for this day and age. I took some time to work through some of the beginning lessons, and I really appreciate the videos because I also would be confused if I had only the slides to go by. 

If you are looking for a coding course for your child(ren), I highly recommend Simply Coding. You may even find another course they are interested in.

You can find Simply Coding on Facebook and YouTube.

Don't forget to click on the banner below to see what my fellow Crew Mates thought of Simply Coding.

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