Coding is quickly becoming one of the most in-demand skills for young people. Likewise, there’s increasing pressure on teachers and parents to ensure that their students and children can learn to code effectively.
However, teaching coding can often be daunting for those with little or no coding experience, so online learning platforms have become very important in this area. Junior Engineers, and its offshoot service CodeMonkey, aim to do this, but are their resources helpful in the long run?
Our review will cover everything you need to know about Junior Engineers and CodeMonkey, including each platform’s features, price and curriculum.
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What Is Junior Engineers?
Junior Engineers is an Australia-based education organisation that aims to provide fun and engaging education in technologies subjects such as robotics and coding. Its mission is to promote a positive attitude toward STEM subjects, create enthusiasm for digital technologies, and help students to develop 21st-century skills to prepare them for future careers.
To do this, Junior Engineers hosts various after-school and school holiday programs, online learning classes, and courses. Junior Engineers is also the parent organisation for two other online coding education platforms – CODEFLIX, an on-demand streaming service hosting a library of coding tutorials and projects, and CodeMonkey, a different online learning platform.
What Is CodeMonkey?
Whereas Junior Engineers primarily focuses on direct teaching through online or in-person classes, its offshoot platform, CodeMonkey is for self-paced learning. CodeMonkey uses a series of gamified coding courses to introduce younger learners to the basics of coding and help elementary-through-middle school students explore a variety of coding subjects.
In addition to its core game-based courses, CodeMonkey offers other resources such as Hour of Code activities, coding projects and cross-curricular courses.
What Courses & Content Do Junior Engineers & CodeMonkey Provide?
While both platforms are part of the same organisation and share a focus on coding and technology, Junior Engineers and CodeMonkey differ in content.
Junior Engineers Content
Junior Engineers has two main offerings in terms of its online learning options. The first is its online group classes, which are live, interactive coding courses for children and teenagers. These involve classes of up to seven students and can either take the form of two or three-day programs made up of 120-minute workshops on school holidays or weekly afterschool programs of five to ten 75-minute lessons.
The other option On Junior Engineers is online private tutoring sessions, which provide a more personalised approach to learning by giving students 1:1 guidance from a dedicated tutor. Private tutoring courses aim to fit a student’s learning style, needs, interests and goals.
CodeMonkey, meanwhile, provides more structured, self-paced learning opportunities. These take the form of various gamified courses which task students with guiding a monkey and other colourful characters through multiple adventures.
In addition to the courses, CodeMonkey also provides a range of Hour of Code activities for one-off coding lessons and a library of lesson plans and other resources to help teachers use the platform in their classrooms.
All this said, these features are not unusual for comparative platforms. For example, Zenva Schools designs its courses to be used not only in the classroom, but also to allow for students to self-pace. This means that teachers can assign extra content to those students who are excelling.
Plus, Zenva Schools’ content is all project-based from the start, so kids always learn practical skills at the same time.
What Coding Content Is Missing From Junior Engineers & CodeMonkey?
While Junior Engineers and CodeMonkey cover ground with their coding courses and classes, there are gaps in their library.
The focus on using games and gamified learning to keep students engaged is limited. Junior Engineers allows students to create mods for Roblox and Minecraft, while CodeMonkey provides a Game Building course where students can create simple retro-style games. However, neither delves particularly far into game development.
What Age Group Are Junior Engineers & CodeMonkey Targeting?
Most Junior Engineers courses and classes for ages 9-15, although younger or older students may still find them useful. Additionally, specific private tutoring options state that they are suitable for students up to age 19.
On CodeMonkey, each course is for a particular age group:
- CodeMonkey Jr. for Pre-K and Kindergarten
- Beaver Achiever for 1st-2nd grade
- Dodo Does Math for 2nd-4th grade
- Coding Adventure for 3rd-5th grade
- Game Builder, Banana Tales and Coding Chatbots for 6th-8th grade
While CodeMonkey’s content stops at the 8th grade, students older than 14 may still get some use out of later courses if they’re looking for an introduction to coding. However, the cutesy, childish presentation of the courses may be off-putting for older students.
Other platforms have much wider age ranges though, and content more suitable for older students. For example, Zenva Schools serves students as young as Year 3 and as old as Year 12 – so there’s something for just about everyone.
How Well Do Junior Engineers & CodeMonkey Match The Curriculum?
CodeMonkey’s courses mainly align to US curriculum standards, with its course library meeting CSTA K-12 Computer Science standards and Common Core standards for math and English literacy. These courses also meet standards for England’s National Curriculum for computer science across Key Stages 1-4.
Junior Engineers doesn’t provide as much detail on how its courses align with any given curricula beyond briefly mentioning the Australian Digital Technologies curriculum in its in-person School Term Programs description.
Similar to other sections, other platforms are comparable in terms of curriculum alignment. Zenva Schools, for instance, has pre-mapped lesson plans that map courses to not only the Australian Digital Technologies curriculum, but to several US curricula standards as well.
What Features Do Junior Engineers & CodeMonkey Have For Students & Parents?
The primary feature of CodeMonkey is its gamified approach to learning, which helps to keep things engaging for students. CodeMonkey also provides full instructions for each activity, plus user-adapted hints and tips to help students when struggling with a particular task.
Parents can use a dedicated Parent Account on CodeMonkey to track their child’s progress and see how well they perform in each exercise. They can also access online support when their child needs extra assistance, which is useful for parents without coding experience.
For students who need a more guided learning experience, Junior Engineer’s classes and private tutoring sessions provide them with access to a tutor who can teach and guide them more directly. These tutors can also give personalised feedback and tailor courses according to students’ learning styles and interests.
This being said, these platforms aren’t unique in their approach. Zenva Schools (to name one) provides students with a variety of ways to keep engaged, including: video course lessons, text lessons, interactive lessons, quizzes, and more. Zenva Schools’ students also receive Certificates of Completion to mark their achievements.
What Features Do Junior Engineers & CodeMonkey Have For Teachers?
CodeMonkey’s school plans include a classroom dashboard that allows teachers to track student progress, see how they’re using the platform and assign specific courses to each student. The dashboard also gives access to the automatic grades generated from each exercise.
CodeMonkey also gives teachers access to lesson plans, video tutorials and other resources to help use the platform effectively in the classroom and extend lessons beyond each course’s activities. In addition, CodeMonkey’s webinars provide further guidance on using the platform and teaching students to code.
Junior Engineers, meanwhile, offers professional development courses on topics such as “Integrating Digital Technologies into the Broader Curriculum”, “Block-Based Coding With Scratch” and “Teaching Resources and Tips to Deliver the Digital Technologies Curriculum”.
Again, though, plenty of platforms offer similar competitive features. To compare, Zenva Schools also offers teachers a suite of classroom management tools to organizes their students and track their progress through the courses.
Likewise, teacher’s receive their own professional development area where they can take the same courses ahead of time to make sure they understand the material thoroughly in order to teach their students.
How Much Do Junior Engineers & CodeMonkey Cost?
Since Junior Engineers and CodeMonkey are technically two separate platforms (despite falling under the same parent organisation), pricing differs significantly between the two options.
Further complicating matters is Junior Engineers lists its prices in AUD, while CodeMonkey uses USD.
To help clarify each platform’s pricing, the table below lays out the different options Junior Engineers and CodeMonkey provided and what is with each one.
|Junior Engineers online coding classes||Between 180-265 AUD depending on the course.||Online sessions with classes of up to 7 students, guided by an expert tutor.|
|Junior Engineers online private tutoring (5-week course)||495 AUD (99 AUD per session).||Five weeks of direct, 1:1 tuition with weekly sessions.|
|Junior Engineers online private tutoring (10-week course)||940 AUD (94 AUD per session).||Ten weeks of direct, 1:1 tuition with weekly sessions.|
|CodeMonkey Individual Plan||27 USD per quarter or 72 USD per year.||Access to all courses, one child account, one parent account, progress tracking and online support.|
|CodeMonkey Family Plan||54 USD per quarter or 144 USD per year.||Access to all courses, three child accounts, one parent account, progress tracking and online support.|
|CodeMonkey Home School Plan||81 USD per quarter or 240 USD per year.||Access to all courses, five students, two teacher accounts, classroom dashboard, lesson plans, solutions for all exercises and online support.|
|CodeMonkey School License||Custom solutions with no fixed price – contact CodeMonkey directly for a quote.||Access to all courses, unlimited teacher accounts, custom course selection, student usage reports, personal account manager, professional development, and custom rollout options.|
|CodeMonkey District License||Custom solutions with no fixed price – contact CodeMonkey directly for a quote.||All School License benefits, but for the entire school district; plus multiple campuses, bulk discount, and onsite professional development options.|
In addition, Junior Engineers also lists Code Monkey on its store for 100 AUD. However, it’s not clear what sort of license or subscription length this option provides.
While the prices could be considered competitive, they will definitely add up and require you to do research about what features you want. As contrast, Zenva Schools charges an affordable price based on number of students per year. However, for this price, teachers and students get every feature available.
Conclusion: Are Junior Engineers & CodeMonkey Worth?
Junior Engineers and CodeMonkey provide a good range of courses and classes for students to learn how to code – both as guided sessions and self-paced, gamified learning. The two platforms are very different in their approach despite their shared parent organisation, and in doing so, they cater to a range of learning styles and needs.
However, while Junior Engineers and CodeMonkey are options for learning to code online, it makes sense to consider other platforms.
For example, Zenva Schools offers comparable features and goals of catering to different learning styles. On top of this, though, Zenva Schools has a much larger variety of course topics, and can be used well into high school as well.
Whatever you choose, make sure to do your research and find the style of learning that works best for your students.
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