Monday, April 21, 2014

New case study: Going beyond our curriculum with cryptography, technology news, and games

We've added a new case study to our coach resources, highlighting Jenny Oliver's classroom in Thailand. She's a software engineer that suddenly found herself in charge of the CS class at the local high school, so she decided to base her class on our intro curriculum and build on top of it. Together with her husband, also an engineer, they added lessons about cryptography, technology news, and created new exercises and projects, like Rock-Paper-Scissors-Lizard-Spock. Interested? Read more here!.

Monday, April 14, 2014

New teacher tool: class progress viewer!

Want to get a general idea of how your class is progressing through our Intro to JS course? How many challenges have most students gone through? Are they behind or ahead of where you thought? Which students haven't started the later ones? Now, instead of looking at each individual student's progress, you can look at your class progress overall to find answers to all of those questions.

Just select the "Intro to JS" mission for the "Skills Progress" report, and you'll see bars representing the percent of your students that have started or completed bits of the course:

You can click on those bars to find out precisely which students are implied by the bars:

If you only care about their progress on types of content, like challenges or videos/talk-throughs, you can filter down what you see:

If you'd like your progress picker to always show "Intro to JS", you can now select that as your class' default mission, in the "Manage Students" tab:

We hope you enjoy the new tool and look forward to hearing how you use it!

Monday, April 7, 2014

CoderDojo JS workshop for girls: Great success!

CoderDojo is a network of clubs around the world that hold coding workshops for kids, and they teach a wide variety of topics, depending on who can teach what in that city. The local chapter, CoderDojo Silicon Valley, teaches evening workshops in Minecraft, HTML/CSS, Python, and SCRATCH.

We think that what CoderDojo is awesome, and wanted to try using our Khan Academy JS curriculum to teach their audience, so we worked together to put on a workshop for middle school girls, last Saturday afternoon.

Around 40 girls flowed into the room on Saturday (the waitlist was 3x that!) and 10 volunteer mentors scattered around the room, while parents sat by and watched. We started off by talking about what programming is, including playing a fun game where they program each other with stacks of commands (like one of the crowd favorites: "get on all fours", "crawl 10 steps", "say 'moo'").

Then we got into actual programming in JS, working the first talk-through and challenge together. After that, we set them off to go at their own pace through the curriculum, with mentors around to help. Once they got through the drawing and coloring sections, we paired them with another ready student, and they programmed together on "Project: What's for Dinner" for the rest of the time. We ended with a Show & Tell, with each pair showing off their team chant, secret handshake, and of course, their dinner. Here are some of their pair projects:

From "Fire-Breathing Rubber Duckies":
From "Crazy Eaters":
From "Ninja Kitties":
From "Imagine Bosses":

From "Wafflicious":
From "KT Stars":

It was a lot of fun, and a workshop that I hope that both I and others can repeat. To make it easier for others to replicate, I've put together a detailed lesson plan with print outs and a suggested agenda. Let me know if you have any questions or put one on yourself!