python coding

Top Python Coding for Kids Course Review

Today I’ve decided to dive more into what makes a “python coding for kids” course so unique and special. I’d like to start with a quote from Python.org “Python is a programming language that lets you work quickly and integrate systems more effectively.” Believe it or not, there are many applications that use python coding, which are Youtube, Google engineers, Universities like Maryland, and just normal websites such as realestateagent.com. So as you can see how important the computer programming language is for kids to learn.

What is python used for? Well… it is used mainly for website development, data analysis, and automation. It is often referred to the science computing language.

Where did it even come from? The short version is that a guy named Guido van Rossum in the early 1980s was working on a project for the coding community called ABC. After working tirelessly on this he became fascinated with this idea of creating his own computer language. One of the main differences from other computer programmming languages is that Guido decided to use “indentations”. Other coders thought he was crazy, but it’s actually what sets python apart as it is “very readable”. It also doesn’t have any real error signals to alert you if code is wrong for variables and functions like Java for example. Python’s syntax is like english.

Online I’ve seen everything from python for kids absolutley FREE, to paperback python books, to online courses all ranging from $10 on udemy all the way up to $100 (usually coding bootcamps). So hopefully after you’re done reading this you’ll know which is the best option for your child to learn the amazing language of python. Just like anything else there’s always a learning curve, but if patient your child will be very versed with an additional programming coding skill added to the good ole’ resume, when they are old enough to get a job.

Python books for beginners is mainly what I see on amazon. Here’s a snapshot of a few along with one in there in scratch. However, I’m still not sure if this is exactly what a child needs as they’re just going to move over to the computer anyways to start learning there. I guess a book could be a good start, but most kids that I know would much rather read and go through tutorials on a computer instead of reading it on a paperback.


      The next would be those lower end courses that are either FREE or around $10 – $30 bucks. Usually you can find these at Udemy, LearnPython.org, Codecademy, Youtube channels such as NPSstation, Six Feet Up Corp, and KidsCanCode, and I believe Codakid.com has a less expensive option too. The hardest part about all of these free python courses for kids are that they don’t come with any support. You kind of get what you pay for. If you’re going to go on Udemy for example to purchase $10, then just make sure you lower your expectations. Perhaps it is a good exposure starting point. But chances are that your child has already been exposed to Javascript a little bit so this could be just a step backwards. And for $50 bucks more you can get full online chat support, email, live webinars to help the child along the way. I think there’s a place for those lower end online education courses, but “coding” and specifically python is definitely not one of them. A hobby sure, but computer science education for homeschooling no way jose’! I might add as well that a lot of the free python courses for kids out there are really just dragging and dropping to solve puzzles. They deal more with the logic and not the actual “writing of the code” itself. Somethin’ to watch out for. python online courses


    Lastly, you have the higher end courses and boot camps. Coding boot camps have proven to be successful if and that is a big “IF” you have the right instructor who can make it fun for the child. They’re nice for the child to get away for a week or a few days and code usually on a college campus setting. However, in researching some of these like even Tynker or Black Rocket, there’s a heft price to pay. Having to cover for meals, instructors, and even lodging or travel can prove to be very expensive. I’ve seen anywhere from $500 to $1,500. And with COVID-19 pandemic these camps weren’t even really able to fully run and a lot of them had to switch to online interaction, which were unprepared for. It’s hard to all of the sudden switch your business model like that.

Here at Simply Coding I would say that we’ve seen these challenges of all different types of python learning and have adapted to take the best of all 3. With the annual membership fee at right around $100 per year, a student can do the coding right from their home. Lessons are structured with text, video, and interactive graphic animation tutorials to prevent boredom and cater to each style of learning. There is also fun little activities and quizzes to go along with each lesson. With live weekly webinars and live chat support every step of the way has also proven to be helpful for our students. Now if you think your child would do better learning in a python coding camp, we also offer that too usually in the summer months. We also started offering a 10 day free trial to test the waters, which takes the nerves off the parents who don’t want to go all in if their kid doesn’t like it. And because Simply Coding is a small business, we can really give the attention to a student and don’t have any corporate rules or time cards to punch out. Specifically the python coding for kids course can be seen by clicking on this link so you can see how we teach it and what is included.

Homeschool Math & Typing Helps with Learning to Code

We often get the question at homeschool shows across the country as to why we start kids at age 11. Or why can’t my kid start when he’s 8 yrs old as he’s really smart? Or my child has done Khan Academy or Scratch or Code.org or any of those free programs online why would we pay for homeschool coding curriculum? So in today’s post we will be addressing these two specific types of questions and bring in the important connection between homeschool math and homeschool coding (computer science programming). When I was searching up “math and coding” on google I was amazed at the few options and articles that even address this, which inspired me to write this post. From Stem blogs to even a site I found called http://www.mathandcoding.org/ started by librarians. So if you’ve visited any sites mentioned below I hope this information will help.

Lets begin by talking about the age as that is probably the easiest to cover.Why start at age 11?  
TYPING SKILLS

NItro typeThe first issue which is pretty easy to solve is “typing” skills. When doing computer science as a homeschool curriculum it is probably the most critical skill needed when doing homeschool math or coding is keyboarding. This was usually taugh back in 7th and 8th grade when I went to school, but seems to be taught earlier now. And in homeschooling classrooms or at home learning it is being taught as early as 8 years old. In fact my daughter just started Simply Coding’s typing course and is learning currently the asdf and jkl; keys. She loves it! Being able to type 15 wpm (words per minute) or faster with minimal errors is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY! Why? Because finger typing or very slow typing is going to cause frustration in your child’s coding (computer programming). This in turn will make it a bad experience. Of course if we were a dishonest company we would just take everyone in regardless of their computer skills to make money, but that’s not us. We seriously want every child to have a great experience. When being exposed to coding, like anything else, that first impression is the most important!

If you are not sure if your child has the typing skills necessary or perhaps he/she taught themselves how to type, it is good idea to have them go through the “homeschool typing course” first and just test it out. It’s included in the membership anyways. REMEMBER: It’s easier to fix bad habits when they’re younger and the same goes with typing for homeschoolers. You can also try out a fun test like NitroType.

coding and mathMATH SKILLS & FREE CODING COURSES vs PAID ONES

So just like the first requirement of “typing” for your homeschool student, the good ole’ homeschool math is also necessary. Now I’m not talking huge math skills, but some basic concepts need to be understood and integrated into your homeschool curriculum if the child or student is to be successful in computer programming. We have found that age 11 the child usually knows the necessary math, however within the homeschoolers this can actually be a younger age. So if you feel that your child is fairly advanced, just hit us up on chat and we can ask a few questions to find out. That’s what the 10 day trial is for too. So your child will need to know addition, subtraction, a little bit about slopes and angles, and some arrays. There are great homeschool math courses out there, but as I saw my wife weed through all of them online, she settled on Singapore Math. So far it has been a great experience for my 11 yr old daughter. She says it very different from what she was learning in school, but likes it.

NOW…. where does it benefit to start paying for homeschool coding classes? We absolutely love the free programs out there like Khan Academy learning, Code.org, and MIT’s program Scratch coding for kids. I’m sure there’s more too out there, but these seem to be the main ones we are asked about over and over. So here’s a list that will help you homeschool moms out there decide whether it’s time to move on from the free homeschooling coding classes to the paid ones.
scratch code.org khan academy
  1. Real Coding – Most of these mentioned above along with others are not exactly what you would call “real coding”. Meaning the student is not writing the actual code on their computer and uploading to create a website or game online. But just moving objects or written code that is just copy/paste into boxes and an image appears on the screen. Now once again this free coding material for kids is a GREAT PLACE TO START and can help with what we like to call, “computer logic”. This is just a fancy way of saying your child will understand basic concepts of how the coding works and can make something appear on the screen, but doesn’t learn how to actually write it. Also most free homeschool coding lessons will have their own libraries where they host the kids material or projects. Meaning you can’t take it with you or show others easily. If the child is ready to write real code and upload their fun gaming projects or websites to the web on a neutral website like GitHub and start building a nice portfolio of their own ideas, then it’s time to move on from free to paid.
  2. Support – Free homschooling programs come with no chat support, or very limited email or phone support. Why is this? Because there is not enough funding and non-profits cannot handle the millions of kids. It’s free to give kids exposure to how fun coding can be and that is its purpose.
  3. Boredom – Once a child has done so much of Scratch or Khan or any others, they usually get bored and end up doing the same things over and over. They aren’t learning anything new. Kids need to be stimulated. They’re sponges and want to soak up more info and homeschool learning. That’s why you homeschool right? The possiblities are endless for a child and doesn’t have to wait for the whole class. They are at their own pace. This is how a homeschool coding class should be too!
Here’s a couple of other good reads on how important math is in coding and even coding with math. haha!

Coding and Math: The Perfect Pair – https://www.mathnasium.com/coding-and-math-the-perfect-pair

How Coding Can Improve Math Performance – https://www.tynker.com/blog/articles/ideas-and-tips/programming-better-math-skills-fun/
Conclusions… Thanks for reading and I hope it helps. It’s been fun to provide coding homeschool classes, but actually now doing it with our own kids as they become of age is even cooler. I’ve got 3 daughters and they’re loving it. With COVID-19 and other unsure issues in the world, we both felt strongly about homeschooling our children this year. And so far I think it’s going well. If you have any comments or questions please reach out or hit us up on chat and we’ll gladly try to answer your questions/concerns.
Signing Off for the day.

Coding For Kids What Services Are Out There?

Scratch (MIT)

Scratch has been around for a while now and is geared towards kids ranging in ages 8 years all the way to 16 years old. It is a coding drag/drop program that was developed and sponsored by MIT and the Lifelong Kindergarten group. Scratch has the goal of allowing a child to learn programming logic through their own interactive stories and animations. The user can then share their projects with the Scratch online community. What I like about Scratch, is that it is a great starting point for a young child (6 – 11) to get exposed to the logic of coding and how it works. It expresses during those early years the creative reasoning in the brain that are essential skills for a computer programmer,

or really any profession for that matter, where you have to picture things in your mind and then create it on the screen. Scratch is a free resource and backed by the LEGO Foundation, Google, Intel, and others. There’s also a ScratchJr for those ages 5-7. If you’re concerned about your child being on the internet, the company also provides a desktop editor that you can download here https://scratch.mit.edu/download

IMPORTANT: One very important thing for a parent to understand about Scratch is that it is NOT “real-world coding or a genuine experience in computer programming for kids”. It is a software that allows you to drag and drop different pieces of code, costumes, and sounds onto a screen template that fit together like puzzle pieces. It is very fun and stimulating for a younger kid, but eventually will lead to the question, “What’s Next?”. It’s the perfect stepping stone like the training wheels on a bicycle. Scratch a great way to get exposed to concepts and get their feet wet, seeing if your child likes building things online via a computer keyboard and screen. Don’t get us wrong, you can create very intricate and complicated programs with scratch.  But they won’t ever be ‘yours’ in the sense they only work inside the scratch sandbox. They have a great community. There is no online chat support or customer service as it is a non-profit, which is to be expected. 

CODE.ORG

Code.org was founded by Hadi Partovi and probably the coding curriculum you’ve heard about from school teachers. I would say their goal is to get any type of coding exposure to ALL kids whether they are interested or not. Code.org boasts a high participation rate in female students and underrepresented minorities. Their program is geared to those of ages 5 years up to 18 years old. Like Scratch, it is a nonprofit and providing necessary computer science skills in every school. Their donors include Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and many more that have deep pockets and are passionate about kids learning technology. Code.org also organizes annually one of the largest coding for kids campaign in the USA called, “Hour of Code”. 

IMPORTANT: While their software also covers teaching logic and creation similar to Scratch, where you are dragging and dropping code blocks, they also have real coding with the real syntax for the older students too. However, you are still coding in their sandbox meaning the code you create won’t work perfectly except when executed inside their website. Their overall mission is to give everyone equal opportunity to learn computer science principles at any age. Code.org is another non-profit with limited support and/or resources but a great free option. 

Other popular services that are very similar to code.org are Codecademy and Khan Academy.

CODE NINJAS

Let’s take a break from the free resources and take another approach to learn to code for kids. There’s always this tug-o-war with parents and screen time with their children. You as a parent want the absolute best future, but they want to sneak in some lengthy video games too.

This is where Code Ninjas wants to come in and help marry these two challenges of allowing kids to have fun but also learn the important technology and computer programming for kids. 

Code Ninja is a franchise with physical locations where they teach teamwork, match, logic, and problem-solving from 7-year-olds up to 14 years old. I actually personally know one of the franchisee’s and they run a good program. They are very much of the belief we are, which is that coding is going to be a second language for your child and will most likely be required. Code Ninjas is out to build coding centers for youth all over the nation and then into Canada and Europe. They believe that technology is advancing so fast and it’s an exciting time for kids to learn and grow whether or not they are interested in computer programming or not. The Code Ninjas courses used to teach coding are the brains of David Graham who founded Coder Camps teaching adults to be software developers. I really like the fact that they provide a physical location to come and learn for those who want their kids to be part of a group where they interact at a Code Ninja facility. As it is currently code Ninjas has 428 centers in 45 states. Check them out! https://www.codeninjas.com/locations.

IMPORTANT: In order to participate in Code Ninjas you will have to have one of their locations near you or perhaps you’re interested in owning one yourself. The cost is set by the locally owned and operated franchise centers. So you would have to contact the center closest to you for pricing information. It averages out to be around a couple of hundred bucks a month. They teach real coding in its native environment as we do here at Simply Coding. 

TYNKER

Tynker Coding for kids is absolutely HUGE with 60 million kids worldwide appealing to all kids of all



ages and interests. They have courses on how to create apps, mods in Minecraft, make websites, build games, and even control toys. Tynker is very similar to Code.org, in fact they partner on many projects. For ages 13+ the real world coding starts with an introduction into JavaScript and Python, Web development with HTML, CSS and some minimal preparation for the AP Computer Science tests. Like the others, all coding is performed inside their website and will only work perfectly there. The reason I want to point this out is some students may not understand that there are coding libraries working behind the scenes to make some of your functions work. If you are wanting to build toward creating your own coding portfolio, then these options are for learning purposes only. 

IMPORTANT: Tynker is famous for their coding camps all over the world and a very large organization so it is somewhat hard if you are a newbie parent trying to figure this all out for the first time. Customer support is limited and if you are needing the personal touch, or communication via live webinar or live chat for your child or even a phone call for you, this may not be the best option. The last thing you want is for your child to get frustrated during their first exposure to computer programming. This can discourage very fast and be an uphill battle with parent and child from day one. I also did not find on their site exactly where the mini coding camps are located, which could mean Tynker is now pushing online more and more. There are subscription plans on the website ranging from $7/mo to family plans of $30/mo.

BITSBOX

Now Bitsbox is something you’ve probably never seen before and very different from any of the others. Just think of those delivery meal companies for a monthly subscription where it just shows up on your door each month and you open it up and enjoy! Bitsbox is all about getting kids prepared for the future of technology and do it by providing a box on your front porch once a month. Their motto is, “Your child may become a coder someday, or they may not. Either way, because tech is the future, Bitsbox will have them prepared”.( https://go.bitsbox.com/ ) As featured on SharkTank, the Bitsbox comes with instructions for the child and you as a parent that will help your child login online and start coding awesome projects. Bitsbox values on their website state: focus & attention, problem-solving, confidence, typing, together time, creativity. The brains behind Bitsbox were two ex-Google engineers that wanted to teach their own kids to code. 

IMPORTANT: Bitsbox is a high-quality company with very appealing marketing materials from the outside of the box to the colorful instruction cards. Subscriptions start around $29.95 per month, but if you purchase the 12-month package you can get your price down to $24.95 (https://subscribe.bitsbox.com/details/basicbitsbox.html). Bitsbox is limited to those children between the ages of 6 and 12. 

iD TECH

iD Tech is the oldest and one of the very first technology camps for kids and teens since its inception in 1999. They have about 60,000 students per year with a very good track record. Nowadays for any type of tech company to last beyond a decade is amazing. iD Tech is doing it. They boast of having big partnerships with Adobe, Apple, Microsoft, Nvidia, Epic Games, and Unity. It’s a very simple and straight forward process as they host in-person summer camps on college campuses. You go to the website: https://www.idtech.com/ and then click on “locations” and see if there’s a camp close to where you live. Their mission is “to create life-changing tech experiences tat embolden students to shape the future.” (https://www.idtech.com/about) 

IMPORTANT: iD Tech only provides summer camps on campuses with a vetted summer staff of college students. From the looks of it, iD Tech ranges from ages 7 to age 19 with all-girl camp options and specialty camps for robotics, coding, and game development. iD Tech provides 2 types of camps: Day camp ranging around $849 per week and an overnight camp for an additional $579 for room and board (meals included). Here are more pricing and camp schedules https://www.idtech.com/tech-camps

Simply Coding

This is us! So where do we fit in?

We offer a coding pathway for youth (ages 11+) giving them a real computer science experience.  They have access to live mentor chat support. Mon – Fri and email support after hours.  All of the coding and work they do will be saved on their computer, it’s theirs forever. Our students create an online portfolio of their work and host it live via github.com.  This is important as they’ll be able to show potential colleges and/or internships what they can do!

For more information see: https://simplycoding.org/coding-for-kids

IMPORTANT: Simply Coding’s coding for kid’s pathway is self-directed with online chat support or screen share help. Students can either engage the lessons through text-based learning and interactions or by watching the videos.  Every lesson shows examples, video explanations, interactive learning experience, and embedded practice editors. Each lesson concludes with a step-by-step activity to add code to your project on your computer’s workspace. 

 

Coding Camps for Kids on Campus is Great for College Recruiting

Today I thought I would write a little bit of how we think summer coding camps for kids on College and University campus is a great recruiting tool. By allowing kids ages 11 through 18 years of age to be on the campus physically is proving to be a huge success in the recruitment of those same kids when they’re older for many universities and colleges all over the U.S. There are a lot of reasons for this, but I want to cover 3 reasons of why it works in today’s blog post. Lets jump in!   REASON #1: GOOD MEMS ALL AROUND Anytime I talk with my buddies about the past we always state “good mems!” The main reason is that if you think about a child who’s brain is developing so rapidly in there younger years, they associate places, things, sounds, smells with either great times or possibly even bad times. By a College or University creating a wonderful atmosphere for kids to come and experience walking around campus and then sit in a computer lab where they see all those computers and cool gadgets, robotics stuff is surely to leave a profound impression on those video gamers when walking out of the campus computer lab!   REASON #2: START EDUCATING THEM NOW WITH LIVE EXPERIENCES Most everyone associates with a mentor or someone they look up to and it’s usually the person that taught them how to work, play, and have fun while doing it. By providing computer programming camps for kids on your campus you have already begun the education process for these young fellas to learn! AS the kids look to the University as almost a mentor, they will only want to continue with concurrent enrollment classes in high school, other continuing education classes because they’ll already be comfortable having been to summer camps. Learning a bit of computer science on campus for kids over the summer proves to be extremely beneficial for the parents as well. What parent doesn’t want to see their child graduate from the same University they did. Well… instead of sending them letters every year to donate to their alma mater, why not send a letter and say you’re offering a summer coding camp for kids for their own child who want to learn how to really program video games and websites or develop apps that make robots move. I mean you already have the computer labs and with Simply Coding you can use their curriculum and live chat support. Now all you need is have a page where they can register and possibly a teacher aide that needs to be in the room for adult supervision. By educating kids now on your campus is a very smart idea for any continuing education department looking towards the future students that you will want to attend. Experience is everything! I just saw this coding camp all the way out in Singapore. REASON #3: A LITTLE EXTRA FUNDS I don’t know if this falls into a reason why, but I have to mention it anyways as for the smaller colleges and universities, they may want to make a little money on the side over the summer. With a revenue share model, the continuing ed department can receive some money from the camps that then in turn can be used for advertising of the camps or funding other summer camps for kids. Coding isn’t the only thing that kids are interested in nowadays, it’s just the majority. But there’s lots of little girl cooks like my daughter who would die to go to a summer camp where they learn basics of cooking instead of watching cupcake wars or bobby flay all day. As a parent myself I have no problem paying a couple hundred bucks for my daughters to go to a summer camp on the campus of my alma mater! CONCLUSIONS I remember when I went to a basketball camp when I was around 10 years old on the campus of my Dad’s alma mater. I’ll never forget it. It left an impression on me that made me want to grow up and go there when I’m older. Just as sport camps for kids did this for me, so do coding camps for kids, and others produce that same feeling of the memory. And guess where I ended up? Yup! Right where my Dad went to school! It is my opinion that there is no stronger recruiting tool for a college or university than to run summer camps for kids! It’s easy. It’s turnkey. It’s fulfilling. It’s affecting the lives of children in their social skills, confidence, and maturity. And most importantly it’s allowing the kids to feel and experience the wonderful culture your school is all about! Heck, give them a cool t-shirt with your logo and colors or a cool slogan! Any swag you can think of. That’ll go a long ways! Other interesting summer STEM camps for kids I saw out there were Sylvan, Idtech summer camps, Tynker stem camps. Be sure to look at all of them to make the best choice for your school! And of course we are here to answer any questions as we know all of them! Have questions about coding camps for kids? We’re here to help! Just click on the live chat or give us a call. For more information on how Simply Coding works with colleges and universities with summer camps you can just click on this link. Till next time, this is D signin off!

Is Code.org Bad or Good for my Student or Child

In today’s post I want to cover if Code.org is BAD or GOOD for your student or child. I’ve heard both sides and there’s a lot of misinformation out there online that is not giving the parent or teacher the right idea about exactly what is Code.org computer science curriculum. So hopefully I can clear this up once and for all and address the worrys of parents. Because I think the real worry for parents and teachers comes down to this: Is my student or child wasting their time on the computer and just playing games? Well…I promise if you keep reading you’ll stop feeling guilty as a parent like I did and see that computer screen time can be for learning and enjoyable.

About Code.org’s Mission

Code.org is a computer science curriculum for schools that is run as a non-profit. Their vision is to bring coding to every student all over the USA. You can read more about their vision here: https://code.org/about.

What we here at Simply Coding like about Code.org is that it really gives the kid or student a nice introduction into the world of coding specifically through their program called, “hour of code”. But as I write this I really want parents to understand the differences of real world coding for kids and what we like to call visual programming languages. I’ll do the best I can to explain in parent language.

2 Types of Programming Languages

Scratch EditorVisual Based Computer Programming (not real coding environment)

I like to refer to this as the drag and drop method of coding games. It is easier at first when you are just learning the logic or syntax to simply have a student click the mouse and then drag and drop either images or pieces of already written code into blocks. It’s also great for those who do not yet know how to type and are trying to gain exposure to see if coding may be something they will like. Most kids start here. However, if you notice your child starting to get bored, then it may be time for something more challenging. Code.org is instant gratification for kids, which is why they like it! You simply login online and start clicking and dragging and instantly can see your projects! However, the downfalls are that you cannot go farther than this, thus progression stops for the child and creates boredom. This is mainly due to the fact that most kids that are into coding have the brain to want to keep going and designing their own games or projects beyond their imaginations. With just dragging and dropping blocks is simply not going to cut it for them. Because it is a non profit there is no customer support, which can lead to a first time frustrating experience for some. The child is on their own. So parents just be aware of that. And I almost forgot that because they host all kids projects on their libraries (website) you can’t really save your work and post it whereever.

Examples of visual based coding: Code.org Blockly Hour of Code, Khan Academy, CodeCademy, Scratch MIT program

Bottom Line: Blockly and other similar programs are great to introduce logic or syntax. They are fun to do for kids and great to expose them to how coding works and the cool stuff you can make with it. It is more like you’re playing a game right of the bat. I relate it to perhaps a “theory” class of learning the piano or learning how to play one song without really learning the notes. I can still play “in the jungle” by Lion King and don’t know a single note!

Text Based Computer Programming (real live coding environment).

Once your child is bored, then it is definitely time to move into the text based computer programming to keep feeding his or her imagination of creations. This is the real life coding where your child or student will download a text editor onto their computer (which is free by the way) and actually write or type in letters, numbers, symbols, etc. to then upload to the internet and display their games or projects. A text editor is like notepad or microsoft word, but for computer programming for kids. The downfall is it can be kind of boring to start off as one doesn’t know the basic instructions or rules. However, at Simply Coding we actually have come up with 3 useful games (pong,fish,mario) in the first lesson that we use as a medium to teach the kids coding. This helps with the boredom. We also do live chat support and live weekly webinars to help the child through any frustrations they’re having to try and make it a great first experience. The downfall is that the student does need to know how to type 15 words per minute and this is because we want it to be a great experience and finger typing won’t get the job done and be frustrating for your child and you as the parent. The other thing to be aware of is that there is no forgiveness in text-based coding for kids. You put a semi colon in the wrong place or forget a letter somewhere, the computer will not have the right instructions to move an object and the code will fail. But nowadays there’s so many tools that check the code and tell the student where the errors are. Just like if you were to hit the wrong key on the piano. Also unlike other sites we do NOT host your kids projects at all. They get to learn how to post it on github and create their own portfolio of stuff. This way they take it with them and it’s theirs forever!

Examples of text based coding for kids: Javscript game designPython multiplayer, building websites in html css

Bottom Line: Text based computer programming is the real deal. You actually type the code and then see it come to life! There are no boundaries. The more you learn, the more you can do that eventually leads to a skill and a job or career! I would relate this to actually reading music and playing the piano and not just learning a song to where you eventually can pick up a sheet of music and play anything. At least that makes sense in my head.

text based coding for kids

Which Coding for Kids Course Best for my Child or my Students?

This is actually quite easy to answer. It really depends on their age and or grade in school, their previous exposure to any type of coding, and typing skills. If the child is in elementary school or 11 years or younger, then they probably most likely don’t know how to type yet either and would benefit from code.org or scratch coding programs for initial exposure and to learn some logic. If on the other hand your student or child is 12 years old to 18 years old and can type, then the dragging and dropping will become very boring very quickly and the free coding resources out there is not going to cut it.

Conclusions:

I hope this was explained well enough to a parent, but if you have any questions, please hit us up on chat or email us at support@simplycoding.org or heck even give us a call. We are parents too and totally get it. Simply Coding for kids is all about turning those computer gamers into programmers and coders. Feel free to watch our video series on this here. It will go through 4 short videos of what we exactly do at Simply Coding!

Signing off,

Dustin

Fortnite Bad for Kids: Can It Really Teach a Child to Code to Get a Job

Is Fortnite bad for kids? Can a child that plays Fortnite all day really learn how to code video games and then actually get a job and/or career? I tried to think what I would title this post for the week as I stumbled upon some Fortnite coding ads that I thought were funny. Now I’m a parent and have to admit that I’ve never played Fortnite and probably never will! Actually, my daughter Shay just walked into my office and saw me searching up on google “fortnite” and blurted out, “That’s the lamest game ever! It has a lot of violence!”. She’s obviously our most obedient child. Hahahaha!!!! So I read up a little bit here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fortnite. If you don’t want to read through it then I’ll sum it up for you in my daddy language. MY DEFINITION: Your child basically creates worlds and battle arenas inside the video game and fights other kids till the last man is standing! Which is funny to me because really there is no ending to the game. So there really isn’t a last man standing. I guess that’s how my parent brain once again thinks. Perhaps people can comment below and help me better. fortnite THEIR DEFINITION: Now fast forward to current years and there are actually 3 versions: Fortnite: Save the World is designed as player-versus-environment game, with four players cooperating towards a common objective on various missions. The game is set after a fluke storm appears across Earth, causing 98% of the population to disappear, and the survivors to be attacked by zombie-like “husks”…..From missions, players are awarded a number of in-game items, which include hero characters, weapon and trap schematics, and survivors, all of which can be leveled up through gained experience to improve their attributes. Fortnite Battle Royale is a player-versus-player battle royale game for up to 100 players, allowing one to play alone, in a duo, or in a squad (usually consisting of three or four players). Weaponless players airdrop from a “Battle Bus” that crosses the game’s map. When they land, they must scavenge for weapons, items, resources, and even vehicles while trying to stay alive and attack other players, eliminating them….This forces remaining players into tighter spaces and encourages player encounters. The last player, duo, or squad remaining is the winner. Fortnite Creative is a sandbox game mode where players are given complete freedom to create anything they want on an island, such as battle arenas, race courses, platforming challenges and more. Epic Games reviews some of the most popular creations from Creative and rotate these into the Battle Royale map in an area called “The Block”.[1] Featured creations are also shown in the “Creative Hub.” SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fortnite FROM GAMERS TO CODERS… REALLY?  So now that we know what it is…. I want to get back to the Advertisements that I saw online about how Fortnite can help your son or daughter learn how to code. Here is one below: fortniters to coders And here’s another: Fort Nite Careers In this ad it states video game developer, strategic planner, architect, & project manager expert are some of the jobs that you can get by playing the game. However, we know this is just advertising and a hook to really get kids to use the medium of gaming and convert it into real life skills of computer programming and coding. That’s why I love working here at Simply Coding. We have the same philosophy of “Don’t Consume It! Create It!” PROCEED WITH CAUTION Carefule of Video Game AddictionsSo we get back to the question if Fornite is bad for kids. Now obviously, parents we want to be careful with our children and make sure there are not becoming addicted to playing FortNite or other video games. Because too much of one thing is never a good thing. Not sure who said that or who I’m quoting, but it is TRUE! However, I feel that some parents may just go “cold turkey” on the video games with their kids and then actually be depriving them of the actual computer screen time that could very well have led to their talents and gifts God has given them to become the next Microsoft genius or Facebook programmer. CONCLUSIONS: Now I’m not here to tell you what to do with your child. That is not the reason for this post. Plus there are hundreds of debates online that you can find on whether FortNite is good or bad, healthy or unhealthy, etc. etc. Just google, “fortnite bad for kids” and it will come up with 35 million results! Here at Simply Coding for kids we can tell very quickly with in the first 3 months if a child has the ability to become a great coder OR he or she just likes playing video games and learning to code is not his/her thing and should probably pursue something else. That kind of investment of a mere $60 bucks to find out if my child has what it takes is totally worth it in my opinion. This post is going a bit longer than what I wanted. If you want, we actually do a whole video series though on this conflicting guilty feeling of a parent who has a child that plays video games and says they want to design video games for a living. YES this is a real thing! You can check it out here. If anything, it’s very informative and feel free to contact us if you have any questions. We are here to help! It’s our passion to help YOU help YOUR children discover their passions in the technology careers of tomorrow and it’s never too early to start. Trust Me! Till next time. Signing off…

Every Kid Needs Coding – Don’t Be Left Behind

The skill of the future & why every child needs coding

Look around you, computers are everything. I bet you can’t name a job that doesn’t include using a computer – I dare you. It just doesn’t happen. So why not understand learn coding by bill gatesthem? In a recent report, by the year 2020 5 million jobs will be lost to automation. Now, it’s not that you can’t get a job in the future if you don’t know any basic code, but it is saying that it will be very hard to get one of those jobs. Why play Texas hold ’em with 1 card? Instead, choose to play with pocket aces, and learn computer coding. The time is now! kids are creative and smart. They are open to new learning strategies and have the chance to learn a valuable skill right now! “Learning to write programs stretches your mind, helps you think better, creates a way of thinking about things that I think is helpful in all domains.” –Bill Gates

Coding for Kids – Regardless of Profession

Computer developers are not the only people who use code. This is a common misconception. Marketing/Adverting, Public Relations, Sales, Human Resources and many other jobs often ask for applicants to have some background in coding. If you docoding for kidsn’t believe me go to glassdoor.com (or any job search engine) and search for jobs in any of these fields. Under skills, most will ask for a basic knowledge of JavaScript, HTML or CSS. An applicant without any of these skills is instantly placed on the bottom of the list. It isn’t enough to understand social media or to be familiar with just tech. Knowing how to use a computer is not the same as knowing how a computer works. Make sure you stand out for the future.

We give your child a head start

Stop allowing your kids to waste entire summers playing video games and watching YouTube. Give them the chance to learn a new skill while still having fun. With summer camps available all summer long, they can finally start getting familiar with code. Whether they try it for one week or do a whole month, we can help them start understanding code with fun, interactive methods like learning JavaScript through modding Minecraft. We teach kids to understand what the different computer programming languages are and the courses allow them to create using all of them.

computer terms for dummiesALSO….A FREE GIFT for You!

If you haven’t already we are offering our “techie” dictionary. THE “TECHIE” DICTIONARY FOR PARENTS WHO DON’T UNDERSTAND THEIR KIDS’ COMPUTER JARGON. Have you heard your children use words like, Scratch, MMO, Javascript, Minecraft Mods, Github, Raspberry Pi, Arduino, or even Java? Well… we’ve compiled a list of the TOP 70 computer jargon words you absolutely need to know as a parent in this FREE parents guide. Think of it as a “computer terms for dummies” type read, but entertaining! CLAIM IT HERE.  

Don’t Let Your Kids Waste Another Summer! Take Coding Classes This Summer

A summer of learning

Imagine this scenario: a summer where your child plays video games and learns a new valuable skill. Here at Simply Coding, this isn’t just a dream scenario, but a reality. Let’s be honest, it can be challenging to find something in the summer that challenges children while at the same time allows the children to enjoy what they are doing. We understand this, which is why what we are doing is revolutionary. Our summer programs allow your children to not only learn computer coding skills, but let’s them play Minecraft while they learn!

Why it works

We developed our software with the realization that children get a real sense of satisfaction if they relate to what they create. By working through Minecraft, the kids can compare what they create to what they have already experienced. They get excited to see the things that they create in a game that they already know and love. As the children evolve in their coding skills, they enjoy the art of coding itself, unlocking their true creativity.

How does playing a video game teach code

Minecraft, the game, is written in Javascript code. Javascript is one of the three core languages of the world wide web, which means that it is very used and very valuable. By understanding the Minecraft’s code the kids are actually learning to read and manipulate Javascript code. The kids will learn to build websites and write code all with their knowledge that started by learning to make mods in Minecraft.

See for yourself

Our summer programs have gone on for a couple years now. During this time we perfected and fixed our program so that the children learn the necessities of coding, while at the same time enjoy showing up daily to perfect their projects. These lessons encourage the kids to upload everything they do to their own personal portfolio on github.com (just like this). They will be able to show these portfolios to future schools and future employers. To see others games made by real students, go to the student page on the home screen of simplycoding.org and under the student tab, click on code dungeon. Our goal is for these kids to be career ready one day, while enjoying the learning process right now. To learn more about the summer camps, or to reserve a spot, contact us here.  

Social Media Safety

3 Easy Tips to Make Sure Your Kids are Social Media Safe

Whether it be Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, social medias can be really fun way to interact with friends. As much fun as they can be, we need to always remember there are real threats to using these tools. Social Media can be dangerous too. So, how do we protect ourselves, and make sure our kids are protected too? Here are few things you can do to teach your kids about social media safety.

1-Don’t let young kids roam free

First things first, if your child is under the age of 13 make sure all of their accounts and passwords are connected to your device or computer. You should have total access to them. I’m not saying you should log on and read their messages, but you should be able to block or unfollow anyone that you feel could be a danger to them. It’s important to trust your kids, it’s even more important to make sure they are safe. Remember, there are some nasty things on social media, and you never know what is really happening if you don’t have full access to the your children’s accounts. So be smart, don’t allow your kids under 13 to have full and total reign over their accounts.

2-Stay private

This allows only your friends to be able to see what you post. REMEMBER: IF YOU ALLOW PEOPLE https://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2011/11/17/do-not-track-web-privacy/TO FOLLOW YOU THAT YOU DO NOT KNOW, YOU ARE NO LONGER PRIVATE. Make sure you monitor the people your child allows to follow them. If you don’t k now who they are, ask. Being social media safe, means constant check ups to stay social media safe. If you have any questions on how to make your social media accounts private, this should help.

3-Parody accounts are a wild card

Accounts that are created for memes and other funny internet things are usually accounts trying to build a large following to earn money through ads. Make sure you know what parody accounts your children are following. Once these accounts have a large enough following, they will often post inappropriate content for an easy buck. Don’t fall into the trap of a couple stupid jokes just to put your child in risk of seeing something that they shouldn’t. Remember being social media safe means preventing the problem before you have to deal with the problem. Don’t let social media teach your children about the birds and the bees. We’d love to hear about other ways to protect our kids on social media. Leave us a comment and let us know how you do it! Being social media smart is a joint effort.          

Internet Safety; Is Your Child Safe on the Internet?

6 Tips to Help Parents Understand Proper Internet Safety

The Internet can be a dangerous place. Without the proper precautions, your child’s safety could be at risk. With one click even kids can access things that would give most adults a stomach ache. So how can you make sure that what they are viewing is safe? The best way to combat the dangers of the internet is to know what they are! Your kid’s internet safety should be the number one goal. Here is a list of the best ways to make sure that your children are safe while using the internet . 1. Computer location is key Make sure the computer is located in an area of non-privacy, like the front room or kitchen. This prevents kids from wandering the internet (like clicking random links) without parental supervision. Kid’s internet safety depends much on how daring they are willing to be and they are much less likely to take chances if someone else can see what they are doing. 2. Be a part of their cyberworld Know what types of social medias and forms of entertainment your children are using. Follow their social media accounts and check their posts and the comments on their posts somewhat regularly. Make sure you know who is commenting and liking their photos and posts. If you don’t know who someone is, ASK! 3. Account privacy is most important Teach your kid not to share passwords, even with their best friends. You never know who else will find out. Keeping information private is the best way to say safe on the internet. Teach your kids to logout of computers, even if they are personal or home computers. Also make sure to check your search engine settings. Most search engines allow parental controls that will help narrow the list of possible choices that appear when your children are surfing the internet. 4. Keep up with software Use antiviruses and pop-up blockers. There are plenty of free or pay-for-use pop-up blockers and antiviruses available on the internet. Antiviruses keep your computer safe from bugs and malware. This is just like putting up a fence to keep your toddler in the yard. It’s a precaution if everything else goes wrong. To find that best antivirus for windows, click here. Of the top ten, nine are pay-for-use, however, if you’re budget is tight there is a free one too. Here is a link to the same site but for Mac computers. All on this list are paid, but fear not, here is another link for free mac antiviruses. 5. Don’t just ban, understand One in four children see porn by the age of 12. Try to understand why this is and make sure you stay in constant communication with your children about what they are viewing on the internet. If something goes wrong on the internet, don’t react by blaming your child. Instead, make yourself available for conversation if anything that they stumble on makes them uncomfortable. 6. What is put on the internet stays on the internet Make sure that your kids know that whatever they put on the internet, even if deleted later, is still on the internet. This makes anyone think twice about whatever they think they want to post to the internet. Let us know what you think about this list. If you have another way of keeping your children safe, let us know. Together we can make the internet a child friendly zone! #kidsafeinternet