CODE Portal is a little unorthodox in some ways so I had to do a lot of research. This post covers some of the sites I got to know and still need to iterate over for the sake of further clarity. I went through each of the websites below, one at a time, getting to know them and discovering various approaches to teaching code.
Online Coding Tools
I would like to show you my level of awareness for existing tools and I often emphasise that the number of resources among these sites can be overwhelming for some people.
It is the aim of the portal to guide users to the best resources at the right time and potentially to the resources that suit them personally. I would potentially reduce Google searches.
- https://www.khanacademy.org/hourofcode (various web languages)
- https://www.codecademy.com/learn#_=_ (various web languages including SQL)
- https://uk.code.org/learn (Hour of Code, Minecraft, Star Wars, Frozen)
- https://uk.code.org/learn/beyond (Extensive learning
- http://www.w3schools.com/ (Web Development focused)
I’m not sure many of the commonly used developer services should be introduced at Primary School. However, they can’t be completely ignored either because many are key elements of a developer’s working environment. So they might be within a staff area for staff who want to be aware of services that help with the long-term management of their projects and even just individual scripts. It may also be suitable to mention these to pupils in Primary 7 very briefly. Industry tools are pieces of a bigger puzzle. Pupils can begin to figure out how everything pieces together in the real-world before actually being asked to learn them, use them or making career decisions.
There is a service called Code Club but Schools do not need to follow their approach. Whatever approach a School takes these websites could be recommended to parents as part of an after School coding and programming club. Each should be reviewed as some may be more suitable for secondary schools only.
- https://www.codeclubprojects.org (register a club for more material)
- https://groklearning.com/courses/ (modules with subscription required, free try)
- https://www.asana.com/ (Create teams, projects with chat and file sharing)
- https://ushare.to (Create projects, share files with individual contacts)
- https://discordapp.com/ (VOIP and chat primary use for gaming)
- https://trello.com/ (Very easy project management, recommended)
- https://www.hipchat.com/ (Team chat, file sharing, social connect, recommended)
- Other Schools
A “portal” that presents many existing sources for a specific subject/topic is not unorthodox. That is the very nature of a portal and CODE Portal is being designed to pull resources together. The hard part of my job is to pull it all together in a constructive way, with much suitability for the education sector.
Unorthodox is incoming though. One unorthodox part (just a little bit) is building a learning system around the portal. Another unorthodox part (a lot more) is attempting to deliver an equally rewarding learning experience as every popular online coding site but without the same features i.e. registration or online content. I’m going to try and deliver this in a way that allows children to be free of internet connection. I want this option to exist but at the same time I do not want CODE Portal to be constrained i.e. if an internet connection exists, the portal will use it and offer more.
Proving Unorthodox Works
I needed to prove my concept to myself, before dedicating potentially 200 hours of my time to the project. This meant researching what it is learners truly need, what they get from the existing free resources that are mostly online, and what could be deducted but still allow CODE Portal to teach coding in an effective way.
My research establishes that some opportunity exists in a solution that gives full control to the School i.e. customizing the portal and even having pupils complete coding challenges to make parts of the portal work. Like unlocking the portals full ability through learning and understand basic coding. My plans in this area aren’t final.