May 3, 2018

Learn How to Code with LIVE Online Classes from CodeWizardsHQ {Curriculum Review}

It would be safe for me to say that we are NOT a technologically focused family. Other than using social media and a smart phone, we just aren't into the usual things like video or computer games. My boys are clueless when their friends at summer camp talk Minecraft or the like. We don't even OWN a video game console of any type. My husband can't code to save his life. I only code for my blogging and that's with LOTS of help. Needless to say we have little to no interest in computer programming--BUT, we recently had a chance to take a class in beginning code from one of the computer programming courses from CodeWizardsHQ (they also offer classes specifically for homeschoolers as well). How would my son--a hard core farming, non-video game playing, no need for computer programming kid--do with this out-of-his-box course?

About CodeWizardsHQ

CodeWizardsHQ is an online computer programming curriculum. Unlike programs similar, these classes are taught in REAL TIME by LIVE instructors in a class setting. Your child doesn't just learn ABOUT programming, but actually learns HOW TO DO IT! They will learn how to "code using real-world languages like HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Python, etc." which can then be immediately useful in the job market where computer science positions--especially programmers-- is in high demand in our fast moving technological world. It is also a skill that too many students don't get hands on learning with until they graduate high school. CodeWizardsHQ prides themselves on offering a college prep skills, geared for students in middle and high school (Grades 5-10). The lessons and assignments are based around pop culture things like comics, Snapchat, and other currently popular topics.

The program itself is beginner friendly, and no prior knowledge of coding is needed to get started. Classes are offered conveniently on weeknights and weekends--the same time each week--making it easy to schedule a class at your convenience. A typical class has just 6-8 students to allow the teacher to have a greater one-on-one experience with each student, as well as making it excellent for providing time for teamwork and peer feedback. If your child works through every level of the course available, your child will have an excellent portfolio to use for future job applications! The final semester of the class is a real world coding project for a non-profit! Worried that your child may miss a class? Every class is recorded and available for playback, and there is 24/7 support for all projects. Every week your child will have a project to complete on their own between classes, and every lesson has an accompanying quiz. All the grades and scores are made available for self evaluation and for parents to keep track of their child's progress.

The curriculum is a series of 12 week courses that follows this tier of instruction over a total of 9 semesters of classes:
If your student already has some experience in coding, there is advanced placement available! And there is a 30 day risk free guarantee for the classes!

Have a homeschool group looking for a homeschool computer science curriculum? You can enroll a homeschool class together and there is significantly lower per-student pricing based on the # of students in the class (potential to save up to $25 per student per month off regular price!) and the flexibility to pick your group's own class time.

We were given the first class of the Level 1 Introduction to Programming course to experience how the course would work for our review--which I completed with my 12 year old (6th grade).

Our Thoughts on CodeWizardsHQ

I didn't even tell my son that he was in this class until the day before it arrived. He has zero interest in computers (besides using them to watch farming videos), so he was less than thrilled. But, because I know he's a very social bird, I was fairly confident that he would enjoy the LIVE class setting, even if he didn't have a deep interest in the topic. We were sent all the information, and our computer easily logged on to the GoToMeeting website which is where the class was taught. We have a Chrome browser and good internet, which I knew helped. My laptop also has a good audio on it, and it worked like a charm for the interaction. Once we got logged in, my son started chatting to whomever would listen on his chatbox for the class. He discovered there were about 6 other students in his class. He liked that the teacher could actually hear him! His teacher helped him change the username from my name to his own. And then the class got started! The teacher used a powerpoint style and also a LIVE feed of his own computer so that the kids could see in real time what they needed to know and do.
Clear instruction from the teacher on what to do
He gave ample instruction about how to get started, and with minimal guidance from me, my son was off and running. He quickly found what he needed to get started and dove in!

This first class was a basic introduction to writing HTML. The class taught the students how to create (and customize) a nine frame comic.

They learned how to change the image, the background, the dialogue, and how to copy new frames. If they made an error, the screen advised them of it.
the code my son worked on
The teacher could see all the students computer codes, so he was able to walk everyone through fixing any of their errors. My son made a few and although I knew I could help him fix the problems, he shooed me away and asked his teacher for help and then made the changes.
You can see in the bottom right corner where it tells him what to do. It is here that it also tells him if he's made any errors.
He figured out what to do, and when the teacher started having to help the other kids, Seth asked for directions to move forward. Because of this, he was able to get all nine of his frames up and running before the end of the hour long class.

His nine frame comic! :)
I am thrilled that he did such a fabulous job! He picked up on how to do things quickly and I think that if he spent time on it, he would get quite efficient at it! His uncle (my brother) does computer programming as part of his job and he was THRILLED to see his nephew taking this class. My own uncle is certified in computer programming (has his masters) and he too was thrilled at my son learning this skill. Unfortunately, my son has NO further interest in following up on this type of thing. His heart and soul belongs to farming and heavy machinery. LOL.

I thought it was interesting to learn that if a child went through the ENTIRE course series offered by CodeWizardsHQ (all the levels--9 semesters) they would be able to, if interested, apply for a half year internship with a non-profit organization with help from CodeWizardsHQ. The students would also receive certificates for completion and be able to attach it to resume/transcript.

I found the instructor very engaging and friendly. I was impressed that he was able to juggle helping all the students in the class with all their needs at the same time. He addressed the students by name right from the beginning which I thought was great. He also provided instruction for any student who was ready to move ahead, even while he was helping others who were stuck. The lesson was very simple to follow and produced results immediately. Everything was done in bite sized pieces--great for a beginner!

I admit that I was intrigued by the class--I used to know NOTHING about coding, until I started blogging. Now I know about HTML, Javascript, CSS...anything that helps me get my blog to look the way it does. Because of this, I was able to even step in and help my son when he made a mistake. My son told me "Mom! I got it! I've got a TEACHER and it's not you! Leave me alone!" Bwahahahaha.

Oh, and a MAJOR pro? The fact there isn't any additional software to download! It's totally 100% on the website! It's a log in style program. I LOVE this as it doesn't bog down a computer.

So cons.
One con that I noticed--if there are children slower to pick up the instructions, another child who isn't having trouble can have a lot of "sitting time". This is because it IS in real time with a real teacher and just like a class when an instructor needs to help a single student--in this online class students would wait. Now, I would imagine that in the actual course there would be assignments that could be worked on during this time period.

The biggest con?
Honestly, the price. Unless you are 100% committed to going through this entire course, I just don't know how you can justify the cost (click here to see the cost). But, if you have a child that is confident they want to do this for a living some day? Then this may be something you would consider as an investment into their future job. And it would be TOTALLY worth it to have this kind of personalized training. But for a kid who does it for a hobby? I just don't see it being feasible.

I would encourage anyone who is even REMOTELY interested or even if you are on the fence--watch their video explaining their program!

I would also say that if you were interested that you should check out the FACEBOOK GROUP that is set up for parents who have children interested in code for more information.

Want to Know More?

We recently had a chance to take a class in beginning code from one of the computer programming courses from CodeWizardsHQ. You have seen our thoughts on our experience with it--but I encourage you to check out what other crew members thought about the class too!
Live Class Computer Programming for your Students {CodeWizardsHQ Reviews}

While I think my son would pick up on coding very well and enjoy doing it, it's just not something he has any desire to do at this time. If this interest does kick in at some point, I would definitely consider enrolling him in the full courses from CodeWizardHQ!

No comments: