CodeHS

Common Sense Media says

Cool, accessible coding lessons come with a hefty price tag.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Explanations end with supportive statements like, "Well, there you go; we've done it!"

Violence

Kids can watch the site's instructional videos without leaving CodeHS, but they also can click on a link to YouTube or Vimeo, which could potentially expose them to content meant for an older audience.

Sex

The CodeHS content is clean, but links on its video pages lead to Vimeo and YouTube, which sometimes aren't. Search for "sex," for example, on YouTube, and you'll find clips involving sex addiction, sexual positions, and nudity. Vimeo tends to be a bit tamer but some clips involve partial nudity.
 

Language

Kids can click through to YouTube and find clips with words like f--k and s--t;  some Vimeo users also have usernames like S--t Storming and F-----g Great.

Consumerism

If kids click through to Vimeo's site, they’ll see sponsored links.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Users can post suggestions on improving the site in the Feedback section and can comment on other user suggestions; however, most recent posts don't have any comments.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that kids won't connect with strangers on the CodeHS programming instruction site, unless they post or respond to comments in the section dedicated to improving the site. If your kid is serious about learning to code, you'll probably want to spring for the monthly subscription; only the first set of lessons is free.
 

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • following directions
  • reading comprehension

Math

  • sequences
  • functions

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • strategy
  • applying information

Tech Skills

  • digital creation
  • using and applying technology

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Instructional videos have a conversational tone kids can identify with; the content is broken down into digestible sections that encourage kids to advance. Designing simple games is very fun.

Learning Approach

Kids'll learn as they go and, if they pay full price, get personalized feedback. Interactive exercises help develop problem-solving and logic skills and reinforce function-related math concepts.

Support

You can view a cheat sheet and track progress. A premium subscription offers access to experienced computer science professionals and grad students, who'll answer questions and review assignments.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • following directions
  • reading comprehension

Math

  • sequences
  • functions

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • strategy
  • applying information

Tech Skills

  • digital creation
  • using and applying technology

Kids can learn about writing basic code; they can start by creating classic games like Snake and Breakout. The process emphasizes problem solving skills and logic, and the site's JavaScript lessons touch on a few math concepts, including use of variables and functions. Videos provide reading and critical thinking experience; kids'll also follow directions. Without a paid subscription, however, they can't view all lessons or get personalized advice from tutors, which is the element that sets CodeHS apart from many other programming instruction sites. CodeHS is a great starter program for young coders, but it comes at kind of a hefty price.

This Learning Rating review was written by Erin Brereton

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What's it about?

CodeHS was developed by two former Stanford computer science teaching assistants to help kids learn to write code. Self-guided modules with narrated videos and examples provide instruction. Kids can also try to code in exercises and challenges. The first learning section on the site is free. To access other sections, kids will need to purchase a $25 monthly membership. A $75 premium monthly membership offers access to all sections and unlimited help from Stanford-trained tutors, who will also grade kids' coding assignments.
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Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

CODEHS offers 10 sections with multiple programming lessons, puzzles, practices, and challenges to help kids learn to write and use code. The informational videos are each less than five minutes but provide thorough instruction. Because each section is broken down into individual lessons, students can learn at their own pace and track their progress on the site, helping them set and complete educational goals. Using Karel the dog as a way to teach commands makes things accessible for beginners; you'll move him around and set down a bunch of tennis balls on a grid using code. Kids'll also have fun with the first results of their coding: retro games and simple art programs. The only real detriment is that parents need to purchase a hefty $75-a-month premium subscription for kids to access one of the site's coolest features, personalized help from its on-hand Stanford-educated tutors.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how what kids are learning on the site relates to real life. Coding involves a series of commands. What other actions, like completing a homework assignment, are easier to do if you split it into tasks?

  • CodeHS is broken up into sections to teach kids different principles. How can your child track progress and use the site's structure to work toward setting and achieving goals?

  • Discuss different learning methods. Does your child find it easier to understand new concepts when they're presented in writing, or visually in a video?

Website details

Genre:Educational
Pricing structure:Free to Try, Paid

This review of CodeHS was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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