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CodeHS: Bringing Computer Science to the Classroom

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CodeHS is spreading CS curriculum to high school classrooms across the country. However, CodeHS is more than just an online course for students. The CodeHS program also acts as a teaching aid, support system, grade tracker, and much more.

But, before continuing, I must mention that this review is different from the others. While I've personally completed all the other courses and tutorials I review on Learn to Code With Me, I simply can't replicate the classroom setting to fully immerse myself in the CodeHS curriculum. (Plus, CodeHS has a year worth of course material!)

Nonetheless, I did have the chance to look through the interface as though I were a teacher, preparing a class lesson. And I found that CodeHS offers much more courseware and teacher support than I had imagined.

Only 5% of US High Schools offer A.P. CS Classes

I never had the chance to learn Computer Science in high school. In fact, neither did I in college.

And I constantly wonder how my life would be different today if I had the opportunity to learn about programming at a younger age.

But beyond my own personal experience, many students in the US are facing a similar situation: not being introduced to computer science in the classroom. How can a student know if they enjoy something if they never have the chance to learn it?

According to Computer Science Education week,

  • In 36 states, computer science classes don’t count toward math or science high school graduation requirements.
  • A.P. Computer Science is taught in only 5% of U.S. high schools.
  • Fewer than 20% of AP Computer Science students are women.

These dismal statistics, and the our tech-based world, are why programs like CodeHS are important.

CodeHS: Incorporating Code in the Classroom

The thinking behind CodeHS is that in the modern world students need to not only exist, but also become creators.

They believe programming should be taught alongside reading and writing in classrooms. Hence their motto, “Read, Write, Code.

However, their goal is not to turn every student into a programmer. Instead, the CodeHS team thinks learning CS will broaden both students method and structure of thinking.

Philosophy Behind Teaching Materials

The mission of CodeHS is to,

“spread the knowledge of computer science by offering well-crafted instructional materials supported continuously by the quality, personal attention of our enthusiastic tutors.”

Their courseware has been crafted with the following points in mind: An emphasis on problem solving over programming language syntax and an ability to apply skills taught through CodeHS to any programming language.

Notable CodeHS Program Features

When a school adopts the CodeHS curriculum, CodeHS brings everything to the classroom except the teacher and students. Think of it as a class in a box.

Below are a few key features offered by CodeHS,

  • A year's worth of CS curriculum, designed for one hour a day for a full school year
  • In-depth syllabus for the teacher to follow
  • Classroom handouts for teachers and students that correspond with the video lectures
  • No downloads necessary – code right in the browser
  • A sandbox where students can practice and build projects
  • Tutors across the country that are able answer student's coding questions online
  • Online Professional Development course for educators on how to teach an intro to CS class
  • Ongoing teacher support and an online community with other teachers using CodeHS

The Teacher's Experience with CodeHS

As mentioned above, CodeHS does more than just bring CS lectures to the students. The CodeHS team wants to educate teachers on how to effectively teach a CS course.

That's why they offer a professional development class specifically for teachers who may be unfamiliar with teaching the subject.

Furthermore, CodeHS provides an array of teacher tools. For instance, teachers can “create a class” online where their students enroll.

Then, teachers then can keep track of their students as they progress. (As demonstrated below.)

Module Progress Demo

CodeHS is used across the country in public, private, and charter schools. It has also been used in after-school programs as well as homeschool settings. Sometimes middle school classes even use the CodeHS curriculum.

To learn more about the teachers using CodeHS in their classroom, continue here.

Individual Plans

Moreover, CodeHS offers program options for those outside of the school-setting – such as their plans for individual learners.

The CodeHS plans for individuals offer different levels of tutor support with corresponding price points depending on the level you choose. Moreover, the individual plans utilize the same courseware as those in the classroom.

Click here to learn more about these individual plans.

Conclusion

CodeHS is probably the most comprehensive online (and offline) coding program that I've looked at so far. With an abundance of tools and resources, they truly are a “class in a box.”

Ultimately, CodeHS is on a mission to expose more HS kids to programming. And so far it seems like they're doing a great job.

What do you think of programs like CodeHS that provide all the materials for a classroom?


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