With the world steadily becoming more and more tech-centric, it’s vital that young people learn how the technology that they interact with every day works and how it affects them. One of the best ways to do this is to teach them how to code.
Not only do coding lessons help young people understand the technology around them more deeply, but they also help to develop essential skills that will help students excel in their future careers. Coding itself is a skill that’s in high demand, but coding lessons also help to teach transferable skills such as logical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity that can help students in many other ways.
The breadth and complexity of coding subjects can be overwhelming for teachers to cover, however. Because of this, it’s often helpful to look for coding lessons, activities, and courses online to help plan a more effective curriculum for your students.
In particular, online coding courses can help you to structure your lessons around exciting practical projects that will help to keep your students engaged and invested in coding. We’ve made this helpful guide to some of the best online course options for coding to make your lesson planning easier.
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Zenva Schools & Zenva Academy
Zenva Schools is an initiative focused on working with schools to give them better resources for teaching young people how to code. The platform offers a wide range of helpful features that are ideal for teachers. For example, in-browser coding and on-demand video lessons make Zenva Schools’ courses accessible in a range of different learning environments, from the classroom to home-learning. In addition, Zenva Schools also provides numerous tools for teachers – such as in-platform reporting for each student to make sure they’re staying on track with the milestones you lay out for them.
Beyond this, you can also try Zenva Academy, which offers professional development courses for teachers who want to improve their own coding skills and bring more expertise to the classroom. The courses on Zenva Academy go into a lot more depth (though with a lot of the same features as Zenva Schools) in ways that are suitable for any-skills level. Zenva Academy also places an emphasis on learning to code through game development – which is a great way to make coding more engaging for teachers and students alike.
There are too many great coding courses available through both platforms to list them all, but the following courses are some of the highlights you should consider for your classroom.
Intro To Programming Bundle
Technically, this is a bundle of courses, not a single course in its own right. But the Intro To Programming Bundle is an excellent starting point for teaching students the basics of coding, as it covers six different programming languages and helps to build the foundational skills students will need for games, mobile, and web development, as well as important computer science skills. While the bundle is available on Zenva Academy, you can also find many of these same courses available on Zenva Schools as well.
The bundle includes six full courses:
- Intro to Web Development with HTML and CSS
- Python Programming for Beginners
- Intro to Game Development with Unity
- Intro to Java for Android Development
- The Complete Introduction to C++
These courses give students a basic knowledge of six of the most popular and widely-used programming languages. As such, the bundle can give students a broad foundation of skills to build on as they learn more advanced coding skills. It also gives you a lot of freedom in terms of where you want to specialize in later lessons, as students are guaranteed to have the basic skills necessary for any subject or project you want to approach.
Available on Zenva Schools and Zenva Academy, the Beginning SQL – Store and Query Your Data is a course focused on databases – a key industry skill for just about any area of development. It is also considered a standard measure when it comes to digital skills in schools.
The purpose of the course is to explain the foundations of databases, why we use them, and exactly how we work with the data within them. Using pre-provided tables of data, students will learn how to access the data stored in databases through different querying methods. In so doing, students will learn a variety of ways they can get data – which can then be used to segway into learning material about how to use that data.
The course is also a great follow-up to learning the Python programming language, as the course also provides material on integrating database functionality and Python together.
Mobile Game Development For Beginners
The Mobile Development For Beginners course is ideal for more advanced students as a way to further build on their skills and begin to learn the ins and outs of mobile development. Students will need a basic understanding of C# and Unity for this project, so it’s not one for complete beginners. For students who’ve already started their coding journey, it’s a great next step, though.
The course teaches the fundamental techniques for creating mobile games in Unity, with a particular focus on how to handle touch inputs. The course also looks at the differences between developing for Android and iOS.
The Mobile Development For Beginners course is ideally suited as a springboard for exploring wider mobile-based coding subjects, as it gives students some valuable practical experience of coding for mobile platforms.
One Hour Coder Academy
The One Hour Coder Academy is similar to the Intro to Programming Bundle in that it introduces students to a variety of different programming languages. What makes this course special is that it does so in just an hour for each language – perfect for teachers who are pressed for time in their busy curriculum.
It’s an ideal course for beginners, as it requires no prior coding experience and helps students to learn basic coding concepts that will help them gain a solid footing in the subject. It’s also helpful for a classroom with students of varying experience levels – covering the basics with several programming languages ensures everyone has the basic skills they need to progress.
Even if the rest of your curriculum only uses one of these programming languages, the One Hour Coder Academy can still be extremely helpful for your students. By giving them a basis in several major programming languages, you’ll give them the ability to adapt if required in later education and employment, all without cutting into your contact hours too heavily.
Code With Google
Google is one of the biggest tech firms in the world, so it makes sense that they’d have a lot of expertise to share. That’s the idea behind Code With Google, an educational initiative that aims to get more young people into coding by giving teachers better resources to use in the classroom.
The Code With Google initiative offers many different resources, activities, and lesson plans for teachers, but two of the main coding courses to consider are the Game Design and CS First Unplugged courses.
Code With Google’s Game Design course is an 8-lesson collection of game design projects designed for more advanced coding students who have already mastered some of the fundamentals.
The course introduces students to a number of game design concepts while giving them practical experience of game design through the selection of projects on offer. These projects include an RPG, platformer, maze, racing game, and more.
Each lesson is planned to take between 45-90 minutes, so you may need to adapt them for your own lesson structures depending on how much time you have in the classroom. Overall, though, this course is a great option for giving your students plenty of practical experience and getting them engaged in coding through fun game-based projects.
CS First Unplugged
Intended more for younger learners, CS First Unplugged aims to introduce some basic coding and computer science concepts to beginner students without needing to use a computer. Each of the activities included in the course can be completed offline and unplugged, helping younger students to learn through guided play.
The projects are intended to get your students thinking about coding and computer science concepts and how they keep the world connected. For example, the Encode an Emoji project sees students design an emoji on a black-and-white grid by “coding” which squares to make which color.
CodeHS is an online library full of coding resources, lessons, and courses that you can use with your students in the classroom. These resources are intended for middle- and high-school-age students, but there are plenty of options for teaching students without any prior experience in coding.
One thing to note is that some of CodeHS’ courses can be very time-consuming – the contact time recommended for each can vary from as little as an hour to over 200 hours. As such, while there are some great resources on offer, teachers who are more pressed for time may not to pick and choose which elements of the courses they adapt for their classroom.
With that in mind, here are some of the CodeHS courses you should consider for your classroom.
Intro To Programming With Karel The Dog
Introduction To Computer Science
The Introduction to Computer Science course teaches the foundations of computer science and basic programming skills, with an emphasis on developing your students’ logic and problem-solving abilities. It uses some of the same lessons and resources as the Karel course above as an introduction, but also delves into wider coding and computer science subjects.
At 60 hours of contact time, you might be stretched to include all of the course’s contents depending on how much classroom time you have and what other subjects you need to cover. Again, though, you can still provide your class with some valuable lessons and projects by cherry-picking specific modules and projects to teach from this course.
A project-based course where students learn to build their own web pages using HTML and CSS, Web Design is another highly practical course focused on a specific area of coding. The course is structured around a central project where students will create homepage about themselves that they’ll gradually add to and improve throughout the course.
The course starts with some fairly simple introductions to HTML and CSS and what each programming language is used for when it comes to web design. Later on, it delves into more advanced techniques and concepts, such as UI design and optimization.
The final project involves working in a team to design, prototype, test, and develop a website from scratch, bringing together the various skills students develop throughout the course.
This course is even longer than the other two CodeHS courses we’ve explored here – at 160 hours, it’s definitely a commitment. This is especially the case if you need to explore other coding subjects and can’t devote all your time to web design. As such, like other CodeHS courses, you may be better off picking specific modules to use with your class rather than running the course in its entirety.
Coding is a vital skill for young people to develop as our world becomes ever more dependent on technology. Employers in various sectors are increasingly looking for candidates with coding abilities, even if the role isn’t specifically coding-related, as it can signal a number of valuable transferable skills. As such, teaching coding can give your students a definite boost to their later career projects. It is also why educational departments around the world are adding and enforcing these topics more and more in the classroom.
Aside from this, though, there’s the fact that coding can be a fun and creative way for students to express themselves and bring their ideas to life. Teaching classes on how to code can be a highly rewarding experience – and thanks to the courses in this list, it doesn’t have to be a demanding one.
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