Friday, July 24, 2015

New tutorial: Using JS libraries

We've just added a new tutorial to our HTML/JS course about Using JS libraries in your webpage. In it, we walk through an example of using a simple slideshow library, give examples of many of the most popular libraries out there (like jQuery and ThreeJS), and leave you with advice on picking a library for your page.

Monday, July 20, 2015

HTML/JS: 1-day workshop lesson plan

As I mentioned in my recent post, I spend many of my weekends teaching in-person workshops for GDI SF, and I've started turning my workshops from traditional lecture style to self-paced style, using the KA online courses and coaching tools.

This past weekend, I ran the JS 200 workshop using the KA HTML/JS course, and it worked out great. I've written up a lesson plan, which includes extra pair projects and tips on optimally pairing students up for the projects by looking at the skill progress tab.

You can find that lesson plan and others on our lesson plans list in our teaching guide.

Let us know if you have any lesson plans to share!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

BELL afterschool programs: teaching programming to close the achievement gap

BELL is a non-profit that runs after-school programs to expand the learning time and help close the achievement gap. This summer, they're piloting a program to teach programming in their summer programs, using our Khan Academy Intro to JS course and our teaching tools.

The Marin Independent Journal just published an article about the success of the program so far. Once the pilot is done, we hope to have a case study in our teaching guide, to help others who want to run similar programs. It's great to see more teachers and programs embracing self-paced learning and encouraging more students to learn about technology!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

New case study: Teaching JS to elementary schoolers

As part of our teaching guide, we have case studies that show the various ways that teachers use our curriculum across the world. I recently found out about an elementary school teaching JavaScript to their students, and was surprised because most folks think that elementary schoolers are too young to learn a syntactic language like JavaScript. However, they found their students took to it quite well -- "begging to do extra homework".

You can read all about the class in the case study, including how they bring in guest speakers over Google hangouts and how they showcase their great project work to parents. Thank you to Omar Alvarez for sharing it!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Our community's programs, up on the big screen!

Every morning I wake up and browse programs on Khan Academy, and every morning I'm impressed with the creativity and productivity of our coding community. Seeing the wide range of programs that they create is probably my favorite part of this job, and it's also what I love sharing with others.

This week, I got the chance to share hundreds of our community's programs with a thousand industry programmers at the jQuerySF conference. I held a Generative Art contest that got 445 submissions, turned 200 of them into an auto-advancing slideshow, and today through tomorrow, the jQuery conference organizers are displaying that between speakers! In most of the entries, the creator says what they love about programming, which makes the slideshow even more inspirational. To quote one of them, "its just great how i can type some mumbo jumbo and it will make amazing things." :)

An MC in front of the slideshow:
Photo of the slideshow behind a speaker

Some of the top submissions:
Screenshot of 6 of the submissions

Congratulations to our community on their hard work, and thank you to jQuerySF for sharing it with the world!

Summer of Scripting: join an online cohort to learn JS!

Over the last few months, I've been digging through our stats and doing surveys to understand more about our Intro to JS learners, trying to answer questions like "Why do they want to learn JS?", "What school level are they at?", and most importantly, "At what point in the course do they give up and stop learning?". To help me with that question, I surveyed several thousand learners that dropped out of one of the earlier challenges - asking why they dropped out - and their overwhelming response was "I wanted to keep learning, but I didn't have time in my schedule."

That makes sense. For school-age kids, programming isn't a requirement for the vast majority of them, but tons of academic fields are, so thats where they have to spend their time. For our lifelong learner crowd, well, life often gets in the way. It's hard to stick to an online course, especially when you're doing it alone.

So I want to give people an excuse to make time in their schedule -- not too much time, but enough time to learn. That's why I'm running Summer of Scripting over the next 2 months. Once people sign up, I'll email them every week with their weekly goals, plus fun contests. If they can put in ~3 hours a week, they should be able to complete the course over the 2 months period, and still be able to attend to the rest of their busy lives.

At the end of the summer, I'll look through the stats and surveys again to see if it helped. If it did, maybe we can run cohorts more regularly on Khan Academy, to give people the excuse to carve time out of their schedule for a little extracurricular learning! :)

JS 101: 2-day workshop lesson plan

As I mentioned in my last post, I spend many of my weekends teaching in-person workshops for GDI SF, and I've started turning my workshops from traditional lecture style to self-paced style, using the KA online courses and coaching tools.

This past weekend, I ran the JS 101 workshop using our Intro to JS course, and it was a lot of fun. I've written up a lesson plan, which includes tips on optimally pairing students up for the projects by looking at the skill progress tab.

2 students pair programming

You can find that lesson plan and others on our new lesson plans list in our teaching guide.

Let us know if you have any lesson plans to share!