Coding Day Camp

This is frustrating

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In the last two days, I began learning Python. As a complete beginner to coding in general, it was a completely different task than I have been given before. Some of it was very logical, but a lot of it was not. As you can see above, I didn’t get the badge for functions after spending a half hour trying to get past this level. Below you can see I got a lot of badges to show off!

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Maybe this was just the Python tutorials, but I felt like there was not much direction and not a lot of explaining. At times, I felt like there was not enough information for me to know what I was doing and why exactly it mattered. I feel like that is how learning the basics is though. If I would of stuck through it all the way to the end, I believe it would be worth it. But you will need a lot of patience and problem solving skills to help you.

Code Academy- Python

I made a Code Academy account last year for my Essential Information Technology class. We were instructed to complete the HTML & CSS section, but because of the deadline I felt like I ended up rushing through the last few tutorial sections and did not get as firm of a grasp on the language as I could have. Python was definitely more difficult than CSS, but still manageable. I believe that this website is an incredible asset to anyone wanting to learn about coding. As far as tutorials go I would say it’s much more hands on and accessible and aims to help people not only manage different coding languages, but actually use, apply, remember and truly learn them. While I would only recommend the website to family and friends who I think are interested in coding, I think tools like this should definitely be utilized in classrooms. However, I think it is essential that teachers using Code Academy realize that students will pick up the language at different paces and should be conscious of making sure kids don’t see the course as a race against the clock or against one another.


CodeAcademy

My Experience with HTML

I took a computer science class my first year of high school, but other than that I have had no experience with coding. I remember not enjoying that class because my teacher wasn’t actually a computer science teacher, but he had worked with computers in the army and so it was difficult for me to understand what he was talking about half the time. This was my first experience with the HTML language and I was expecting it to be much more difficult than it was. I had an easier time remembering certain steps and lines of code than I thought I would. I might consider continuing the HTML course on Code Academy if I had more time because I would like to be able to design a website portfolio for my photography.

I would definitely recommend Code Academy to friends and family. It was a very smooth and easy start to learning how to code. In fact, I plan on mentioning my experience to my younger brother; he loves to play with computer parts and enjoys video games so I think he might enjoy learning how to code. I think Code Academy is a great way to start learning how to code and I think this should be incorporated more into the class room setting if it has not been already. I know I would have had a much better time in my computer science class in high school if I had been using Code Academy instead of trying to translate my teacher’s technical computer science instruction into my coding. Below is a screen capture showing how far I got through the Code Academy tutorials for HTML. You can see my google search for annoying TV celebrities in the left tab. Yes, I had to cheat on that part.

screen capture of coding

Trying to Learn Python on Code Academy

code academy

Prior to going on Code Academy, I would say I was (and really still am) a novice when it comes to coding. I have a very, very limited knowledge of HTML, but other than that, I know nothing. Since I know a little about HTML, I decided to try the Python course to give me experience in something I’ve never seen before. The coding language seems very simple from what I have done so far. To reflect the value of something, you use an equal sign; to multiple you use an asterisk. It’s very intuitive (of course I just started learning so the more advanced language could be not intuitive at all for all I know). However, I didn’t really know what I was doing most of the time. There is a section where you determine the total of a check by adding the tax and tip to the total, and that section made sense to me because it was clear why certain things were being assigned specific values. For the most part, though, it just seemed like I was assigning random values to random things for no reason. Maybe if I had gotten farther along it would have all come together, but as of now, I’m not really sure why I was doing certain things.

While I think it’s great that Code Academy exists, I’m not sure if I will continue using it. I’m very much the kind of person who needs to know why I’m doing something. I can’t just do things with the hope that it’ll make sense later. I also got stuck on a lesson and the hint didn’t help, so now I have no idea how to proceed. All that being said, I think I would recommend Code Academy to someone if I knew they wanted to start learning how to code for work, or because they wanted to get a head start for a class they’re taking. I think if someone had a reason to learn code, they would be able to look past the issues I have with Code Academy. As I have no real desire to learn code right now, I don’t think I will continue using Code Academy because I just found myself getting frustrated because I didn’t understand why I was doing certain things. I think if Code Academy made their lessons more comprehensive (as in, this is why we are setting this variable equal to this phrase) I may have enjoyed it more.

The J stands for John – jQuery

I got a badge!

I got a badge!

I don’t really think I’m an expert in anything but I also wouldn’t call myself an intermediate. I’m a comp sci major so I’ve definitely coded before but there’s also a lot I don’t know about coding! I actually thought this was a bit harder than I thought. I haven’t really done much programming on websites – outside of basic HTML/CSS – so I wanted to try out jQuery. I’ve learned a few languages but it’s really weird coding websites. The syntax is markedly different from C-based languages – python, Java, C++. Lots of parenthesis, dollar signs and nesting functions. The tutorial was pretty helpful and jQuery was great because of how visual it was. There’s something very rewarding about jQuery’s animations and special effects.

I think coding is important and Code Academy is a good avenue to learn but I still think there’s nothing like having someone who cares about the subject and the learner. A physical coding camp, a friend or a class would, in my opinion, be the best way for a complete beginner.

HTML & CSS: My Experience with Code Academy

I decided to do the HTML & CSS lesson on Code Academy as a basic introduction to coding. Unlike many of my peers who learned HTML & CSS because of neopets or what have you, I never got into that so I never really learned the basics. It wasn’t until college that I started wanting to know how to code and how to create things or change things using code. Before singing up for Code Academy I had no coding experience whatsoever. No computer class in high school or my first year of college had even touched upon how to use coding languages.

The Code Academy lesson was easy to follow and I liked that I could go at my own pace and stop whenever I wanted. The lesson is broken up into six parts and each part has two sections to complete. I finished five out of the six parts, so in total I did ten sections. HTML & CSS were much easier to understand and complete than I initially expected. It was very basic coding and easily applicable to things I already do, such as blogging.  The language wasn’t something I was familiar with,  but after doing a couple of lessons it was easy to remember the basic structure of the code and how it should work. I also dabbled in Javascript for a Mobile Gaming class I’m taking, but I won’t share that screenshot since I basically turned a dungeon game into a game about cosmetics. What can I say? Coding and lipstick go hand in hand for me. Though Code Academy may not be the greatest end all resource out there for coding, I think it’s a great introduction to different coding languages and might be a nice gateway into more complex things. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to start dabbling in coding and feels apprehensive about it. To me, a beginner, it seems like a good website for people with limited coding experience to start learning how to code. Nevertheless, I know some people can get frustrated with Code Academy, but I think it’s still a great way to get people interested in coding.

finalcode

Coding Day Camp!

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Prior to this Coding Day Camp, I would place my level of expertise at the intermediate level. I used Code Academy in my Essential Information and Technology course during my first year and, when I signed on for the camp, I realized I was about 48% through the HTML & CSS section. Despite this progress from my EIT class, I had not been on the site in a while and was a little scared to dive back into coding. Surprisingly, once I began navigating the site again, the coding language was easier than I remembered. I also really appreciated the hints that were offered during every exercise. The only time I used one was when I was having issues with the image. When I realized I was coding correctly, it gave me a confidence boost and I then concluded the issue may have just been either the url or simply because the image did not show up in the preview mode.

I would definitely consider completing this tutorial and starting another one. Not simply because it was easier than I remembered, but mainly due to the knowledge I have gained in this class. I now have a new appreciation for coding and see how valuable it is to be skilled in this area. There is a huge opportunity for coders in the work force and practice on this site may be the key to an amazing job in the future.

Considering my dad, sister and brother all work in the tech field, I would love to recommend it to them to see them go back to the basics. On the other hand, my mom needs a lot of help when it comes to technology so I would love for her to experience the site to see if she finds it either useful or interesting.

I believe this site is a great place to begin. It is informative and fun but, most importantly, encourages you every step of the way. This is crucial because consistent motivation is necessary whenever you are stepping into new territory and trying something new. I especially like the badges the site awards you when you finish a section (like the one shown in my screenshot). These awards not only make you feel accomplished, but they make you want to keep improving and learning more which is the exact mentality that we desperately need more of in this field today!

My Experience with Javascript

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When we were first given tho assignment, I admit I was a little frightened because I had never coded once in my life. When I first got on the Code Academy website, I had no idea which code language to choose, so I just randomly picked one and ended up with Javascript, which I soon learned was quite confusing. I was however fairly surprised with how simple the tutorial made the program because when it came to coding, I had no idea what I was in for. The first few steps were fairly easy, prompting me to do simple math or type my name. The tutorial got trickier as I went, but I was able to finish all twenty-eight steps.

Although I would not consider doing more of the tutorials using Javascript on Code Academy, I would consider trying a different coding language through the website tutorials. I found the tutorials simple and easy to understand, even giving me hints when I got stuck or frustrated. If someone was wanting to learn to code, I would highly recommend this website because even with no experience in coding, I was able to pick it up pretty quickly using the tutorial. I think it is a great way for people to gain experience with coding, even if they have none, because of the step by step tutorials that gave review sections throughout. I found these helpful in my experience because I quickly learned how easy it was to forgot the dialect or punctuation needed to get the code to respond correctly. Overall, I enjoyed the experience and would recommend it to any other beginners who are interested in learning what coding is all about!

My experience with HTML & CSS on Code Academy

To be perfectly honest, prior to this assignment I was scared of coding. Despite the fact that speakers have been saying that anyone can code and that it’s something that can be picked up even after college, I just couldn’t get past the fact that elaborate websites could be based on something simple. I was expecting to struggle through this assignment and probably end up Googling how to do certain coding tasks along the way. My pessimistic attitude toward coding results from the fact that I have never had any interaction with coding until this tutorial. In fact, until this semester, all my years of education have never covered this topic. Therefore this unfamiliar language that serves as the basis of every website I’ve ever visited was a bit intimidating to say the least.

To my surprise, Code Academy’s interface and step-by-step breakdown of instructions, was very easy to follow and I was able to finish over a full hour of stress-free coding without having to consult outside sources for help! The tutorial was effective because it left no room for failure since every single step was spelled out thoroughly and generous hints were provided. I found irony in this since a few speakers talked positively about failure as a motivator and a necessary process toward success. I’ve always preferred to be successful without prior failure, so I appreciated the success-oriented steps in the tutorial. However I’m sure that in more complex coding applications, failure would be pretty much inevitable.

I would definitely consider completing more of this tutorial on HTML& CSS or even trying other coding languages. This kind of valuable information is being taught in classes that people pay money for. The fact that Code Academy offers it for free is wonderful and I would encourage anyone interested to take advantage of it. I believe that novices to coding should definitely start with online tutorials like Code Academy, which offers the perfect balance of hands-on learning and hand-holding, resulting in an enlightened mind that is open to the many possibilities of coding.

HTML coding

This image shows the final step in HTML Basics, which is the last section I completed in the tutorial. In this step I used code to add and image, a hyperlink, and a hyperlink that was coded as an image.

I did not Cry

html

HTML

Coding is pretty amazing because it encompasses the wonders of language and the technical aspects of math; through analytics. As such I am no expert at languages and I almost detest math. Before creating a page on Codeacademy I have to admit I was a bit intimidated as I had almost no prior experience with coding. It was however much easier than I originally expected. I thought I was going to cry through the whole experience and yet the site was so helpful in guiding me step by step. If coding is the interest of anybody I would definitely advice using Codeacademy, it is so helpful for starters and as a basic introduction. My favorite aspect were the simple instructions that each step laid out, it was not only easy to understand but easy to follow with right after. I don’t think that I will be spending much more time on it since coding would have to be a language I want to pursue further, but it was definitely something I’m proud of trying.