Although many schools teach STEM subjects due to their impact on the modern working environment, they rarely focus on them more than the core subjects. For students with a bigger passion for coding, this can be a sad set of circumstances. Yet, this is where coding academies can come in and fill the gaps.
However, in order to push excellence in coding, coding academies often require high-quality teaching resources in order to be able to provide the needed content. So, what are the best teaching platforms for this?
Continue reading to find out the best qualities for a coding academy resource, the top coding resource platforms, and more!
What Is A Coding Academy, And What Can Students Learn In Them?
A coding academy is essentially a boot camp for coding. Coding academies focus on intensive courses resulting in individual excellence. In addition, they are often fully online-based, so a coding teaching resource with an excellent selection of online content is paramount.
In a coding academy, students can learn how to create basic and advanced code and understand the functions of many essential coding programming languages.
Because of the excellence required for a coding academy, many lesson plan resource providers focus on brilliant coding resources to accommodate their needs.
What Should Coding Academies Want From A Coding Teaching Resource?
If you are looking for an entry-level or intermediate teaching resource for a coding academy, you first need to make sure you are looking for high-quality teaching resources. Because of the standards required for a coding academy, only high-level platforms are appropriate.
However, there are also some specific aspects you need to look for to find the best coding teaching resource provider for your coding academy. Here are some key things you should want from a coding resource for a coding academy.
Suitable Amount Of Intermediate Coding-focused Resources
Unlike a coding class or club, coding academies expect their students to reach a high level of coding understanding. Therefore a teaching resource provider must include advanced coding courses for students to complete when they finish the basic-level offerings.
A fundamental coding resource needs to be simple and easy for a student to understand; beginners only require the essential information to understand the topic. In contrast, advanced coding resources must focus on more complex subjects and teach students new information to expand their knowledge (i.e. they shouldn’t repeat basic teachings).
The Teachings Must Be Incredibly High Quality
Excellence is vital for a coding academy, so resource providers must have resources with accurate information, so the students get the best lessons possible.
The best way to check if a teaching resource provider has high-quality teachings is to check that they abide by a detailed and strict curriculum standard. Curriculum standards will provide multiple objectives that a teaching resource provider must meet with the correct information – ensuring the quality of the resource.
The Coding Teaching Resources Must Engage Students
Students must engage with the lessons in a coding academy; if they show little or no interest in coding, they will not achieve the expected level of excellence. Therefore, many teaching resource providers make coding teaching resources visually engaging, fun and varied.
Variety is especially important when engaging students in a teaching resource. If the resource contains multiple content types, it will keep students on their toes by continually giving them new activities and challenges.
What Are The Best Lesson Plan Resources For Coding Academies?
Coding Academies need multiple types of coding teaching resources to give their students a clear sense of progression. Therefore, before you decide on a coding teaching resource provider, you need to know the best types of resources for a coding academy.
Intro To Coding Resources
Even though excellence is what coding academies want to achieve, they still have to start students on the basics. Therefore, teaching resources that introduce students to coding are critical.
An intro to the coding course must teach students the essential functions of particular coding languages or software. A good resource here will also make sure to include something like projects or practical examples. In this way, students don’t get trapped in theory.
For example of the kind of courses we mean, Zenva Schools has multiple intro courses that are great for giving the students all the information they need to start creating code. Here are some of the best entry-level coding resources on the site:
- Intro To Coding With Scratch: The introductory resource for Scratch shows students how to use the essential functions of the programming tool. Specifically, it teaches them how to create and edit coding blocks, develop basic computer instructions by utilising flowcharts, learn the basics of repetition, and much more.
- Intro to Coding with Python Turtle: A course that introduces students to coding principles and shows them how to use those features to create functional code. The teachings in the coding course include shape drawing, shape manipulation, algorithm creation, and a lot more.
- Intro to Game Development with Unity: A course that introduces students to the popular Unity engine for games. Besides navigating the engine itself, the course also covers things like object manipulation and basic C# programming.
Coding Projects For Beginners
Although courses giving an overview of a particular coding language can be helpful, the best way to improve a student’s ability on the platforms is to provide them with some hands-on experience.
Many lesson plan resource providers have basic projects and project layouts that students can complete to improve their coding skills. There projects not only help keep students engaged, but provide a framework for practical applications.
Once again, here are some courses on Zenva Schools to exemplify the sorts of projects that will help students at the next level of progression.
- Scratch Projects – Cat On Trampoline: A very straightforward coding project demonstrating how to make a simple interactive project on Scratch. Specifically, it can teach coding academy students how to edit and move sprites, edit data, use UI to display information, detect object touching, and more.
- Unity Project – 3D Platformer: A coding project that teaches students the building block of making a brilliant 3D platformer on Unity. The teachings on the project include environment, item, and enemy creation.
Coding Projects For Advanced Students
Advanced coding projects are the most critical lesson plan resource for a coding academy because they want students to achieve a high level of coding excellence.
What “advanced” here means will vary by age, though. Either way, the resources should avoid repeating stuff previously learned. Or – if there is some repetition – show students how to take that knowledge to the next level with more technical concepts that haven’t learned yet.
Just as a small example again, Zenva Schools has some good examples of intermediate courses for different age groups that fit here.
- Intermediate Scratch – Self-Driving Car Simulation: An advanced coding project on Scratch that shows students how they can utilise the more complex Scratch functions to make a game with numerous variables. The teachings on the advanced project include object moving (using data), atmosphere creation (using images and sounds), object state detection, and much more.
- Intermediate HTML & CSS: An advanced coding course with project-based teachings on the intermediate features of HTML and CSS. It involves explorations into things like responsive design – an important facet for any modern web developer.
- Intermediate Python Project – Pygame Game: An advanced project for coding academy students. It helps students discover how to use high-level functions to make a brilliant Pygame app. The teachings involve game window creation, player and enemy class creation, object collision detection, and more. Plus, students learn how to manipulate art assets with plain code – no engine tools.
What Are The Best Teaching Resource Platforms For Coding Academies?
Before researching to find the best lesson plan resource provider for your coding academy, you must ensure you know what you want from a coding teaching resource. However, once you know this, researching is easier said than done.
There are hundreds of teaching resource providers with options for coding academies; we have three top choices to show you so you can have the best start to your research.
Along with the courses, Brite provides a number of “coding quests” and activities to help keep students engaged with the content. Along with this, the courses also take a project-based approach, so students are also always getting the chance to express themselves creatively.
Aside from the content, Brite offers a lot of other features that might be useful in a coding academy setting. This includes an extensive content management system that makes it easy for instructors to take multiple courses and string them together into a comprehensive curriculum – perfect for making that coveted progression system.
This being said, just bare in mind that quality of courses can vary since they’re coming from a wide variety of providers and teachers.
The highlight of Codecademy is that almost all the courses are interactive-based. Instead of just learning theory, students will read about a coding topic, and then immediately be shown an exercise via the in-browser IDE. To boot, Codecademy also has instant error checking, so students learn from their mistakes right away.
On top of this, Codecademy doesn’t just have individual language modules. Instead, for a price, it also offers project-based courses and career path tracks that are predesigned to take students from beginner to advanced coder. Thus, excellence in coding is a big part of the platform.
That being said, bear in mind Codecademy is quite expensive compared to competitors, and its variety of lesson types are very, very limited.
Code.org is a popular nonprofit platform used in schools. The Code.org mission is to increase computer science knowledge in schools – starting with the youngest ages and up. They’ve had tons of success over the years, with over two million teachers using the platform.
As part of their mission. Code.org offers a ton of free content courses to be used in and outside the classroom. These range from Scratch basics, to Python, and more. On top of this, Code.org provides three built-in labs for building apps, games, and web projects. In this way, kids don’t even need a computer to participate and share their projects.
For coding academies, there is also the benefit of their teacher-based resources. These include recommended course tracks so you can ensure that students are properly advancing their skills.
All this said, just bear in mind there is a distinct bias for younger ages.
Courses on Tynker are not only designed so each lesson fits in a typical class period, but also so there is a variety of activities. This includes interactive lessons, puzzles, projects, and quizzes. On top of this, Tynker offers lots of in-platform awards to keep kids encouraged.
Another noteworthy feature is Tynker’s analytics. As the platform was designed more to be used in schools, it offers tools for grading – but also for amalgamating student performance to see how well mastery is going. This can be a great tool for coding academies since it helps reinforce the excellent in coding mantra.
However, Tynker does indeed not have the range of content others on this list do – so it’s something to keep in mind.
However, that’s not the standout part. The standout part is that it takes a very gamified approach as every lesson is centered around kids “playing” a game. In order to progress in the game, kids have to code their characters to complete certain tasks. As such, every activity is both engaging and interactive.
As the system is a very level progression based, for coding academies it’s very easy to capture the progression needed to achieve coding excellence. With course management tools to boot, its also easy to assign, manage, and track the content students are doing.
Again, though, like Codecademy, this limits teaching to one thing. If kids aren’t gamers, they might not get as much out of it.
Given it was mentioned already, it should be no surprise Zenva Schools is here. This platform offers a huge course library, featuring everything from Python to web development to Unity – and even to popular tools like Blender and Photoshop.
Zenva Schools’ courses also come with a variety of ways to learn. While the lessons are primarily video-based, each also includes a text summary of the lesson for easy reference and accessibility. Plus, there are also interactive lessons, quizzes, and more for additional engagement.
Similar to Tynker, Zenva Schools was designed for schools. As such, it provides a suite of tools for organizing “classrooms” and for tracking student progress to make sure they’re staying on top of everything.
Unlike others on this list, though, Zenva Schools also offers pre-mapped lesson plans matched to the Australian and U.S. curricula standards – providing assurance kids learn what they need to.
Which Teaching Resource Platform Is The Best One For A Coding Academy?
Choosing the right resources for your coding academy is definitely a challenge. While we can provide suggestions and research points, the “best” is ultimately down to you.
That being said, we think Zenva Schools is the standout entry here, as it just offers a well-balanced library base that will keep kids engaged and learning topics that interest them. Progression is also fairly easy since the requirements are transparently listed.
Regardless of what resources you choose, though, coding academies will help create the next generation of coders!
If you’re from a K12 school and want to try out our platform, fill out the form below.
We’ll organize a free trial so you can test it out with your students in class!