Coding Day Camp

Coding Day Camp: Java

When first told that I would have to try to attempt coding, I was a bit nervous. As someone who has not coded a day in her life, I was worried that I would fail epically in the assignment. I thought that coding with any programing language was something that required a certain type of intelligence, something that I did not posses. None the less, I knew I had to complete the assignment, so I created an account on Code Academy, and started the tutorial on Java.

To my surprise and delight, I was not only able to complete the entire tutorial, but also completed it without very little problems. Code Academy did an excellent job walking me through all the activities, while still ensuring that I was still learning the program. In fact, after I completed the first tutorial on Java, I felt tempted to start a new tutorial on another language. Code Academy was able to challenge my views on who is able to code, and what coding is about. No longer was coding a scary field that only a few gifted individuals were able to learn, but something that everyone (including a novice like myself) could potentially thrive in. I would highly recommend Code Academy to anyone who wants to learn to code, but does not believe that they can.

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Commencing Creative Coding on Codeacademy

This isn’t my first rodeo. I’m a computer science major who else well versed in the ways of code. Codecademys target audience is most definitely not aimed at users such as myself.  However, I did see how it might be extremely helpful for users who have never written a program in their life. The step by step instructions and lessons were very clear and covered some of the basic programming fundamentals quite well. The wide variety of languages and frameworks in which they offer tutorials/lessons is impressive as well. I did a few sections of the Javascript tutorial. I’ve never written much javascript before, but from what I can tell from this experience, it’s fairly similar to most other object oriented languages out there.

My biggest question is who comes up with these dialogues?

My only gripe is how all of their tutorials are too detailed. Codecademy is only geared towards brand new programmers. While it does that job very well, it’s rather tedious if you are just trying to pick up the basics of a second or third (etc…) language. I remember trying Codecademy my freshman year to check out some Java in addition to the Python I was already learning and, even then, I found it quite slow paced and boring/off-putting. Granted, this is just my personal opinion since I would much rather just start getting my hands dirty and figure it out on the go. I do think that being able to investigate and figure something out on your own (so you can start running without learning to take the baby-steps every time you want to try something new) is a very integral part of computer science in general!
Basically, if someone had never coded before, I’d highly recommend they step through an entire course on Codecademy. However, after they get that intro experience under their belt, there are better learning resources out there that can teach you the same things faster. Nothing beats a real person helping you along the way either!

My Experience with HTML

As someone who has never coded before, I was a little intimidated by this assignment. Despite everything we have talked about in this class, such as how we should encourage people to learn how to code, or how some people taught themselves to code with much simpler and lesser resources, I anticipated that I would struggle with this assignment. I was actually pleasantly surprised. I chose to work with HTML and I found that the instructions made the assignments very easy. I found myself excited to go on to the next steps, because learning something as simple as being able to place a link in a picture through HTML, felt like a step forward to creating bigger and better things on my own. I look forward to trying out the other tutorials, and I hope to share this resource with anyone who will listen.

The most rewarding thing about this assignment was realizing that coding doesn’t have to be an inaccessible form of literacy. While I know I’m not ready to create my own website just yet, I look forward to learning how. This resource makes this an approachable way of learning. When I began the tutorial and found that it was very easy to follow the instructions, and the feedback helped me fix whatever wasn’t right, it was really enjoyable. The instructions were very straightforward, and I think it would be a great place for beginners to start.



HTML Basics Badge from Codeacademy.com

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.