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Code.org

Website review by
Erin Brereton, Common Sense Media
Code.org Website Poster Image
Clear instruction can turn kids into coding superstars.

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The parents' guide to what's in this website.

Educational Value

Kids can learn about computer science concepts ranging from fundamental principles to algorithms, nested loops, conditionals, and functions. They'll be able to create art, stories, and games using the functionality and see how small coding steps add up to programming an action to occur. Seeing other kids' projects can help them understand applications for coding. Kids use logic and strategic thinking and are asked to deduce the next step, and they can try again if they make a mistake. Overall, the site offers helpful, easy-to-follow instruction that can help kids grasp the what's involved in creating apps and other items.

Positive Messages

Kids get a congratulations message when they complete a task, such as writing a line of code. Some lessons also encourage teamwork.

 

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Code.org offers step-by-step instruction to help kids learn how coding works. The site provides encouragement after portions of a lesson are completed, including listing how many lines of code they've written up to that point. Kids can view, but can't comment on other users' creations, which helps prevent any negative discourse. Kids can also access some of the hands-on learning without logging in. To save anything what they create, though, they'll need to be a registered user.

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What's it about?

On CODE.ORG, kids can learn about a variety of computer science concepts, ranging from fundamental principles to algorithms, nested loops, conditionals, and functions. They'll be able to create art, stories, and games using the functionality and see how small coding steps add up to programming an action to occur. Seeing other kids' projects can help users understand coding applications. Kids use logic and strategic thinking and are asked to deduce the next step, and they can try again if they make a mistake. Overall, the site offers instructions that can help kids grasp the what's involved in creating apps and other items.

Is it any good?

This instructional site coaches kids through each coding lesson, giving them the skills to learn how to program in fun, clever ways. Code.org has a site with easy to grasp mechanics. Drop-down menus within shown lines of code makes it easy for users to change design elements such as background color. They can test out the result, and if something isn't right, they can alter the code and try again. If kids get completely stuck, they can view a brief explanation. The courses for students in sixth grade and above generally involve creating familiar items, such as an app or web page, which makes the lessons more applicable to real-world use. Kids can craft animations and games with characters that run, jump, and fly, design simple web pages using HTML and CSS, and use blocks or JavaScript to design an app.

Users are sometimes encouraged to try to do things first without utilizing additional instruction that's offered, which may help them become more confident about their coding skills. They can also track what lessons they've completed in an online chart. The educational offerings for older kids seem to be a bit more practical -- while the pre-reader instruction can take just a minute to watch, and kids can replay earlier steps if they missed something, there seems to be a fair amount of reading involved in some lessons. Younger users may need an adult's help to navigate them as a result, but they should enjoy being able drag and drop items to make characters move. If older kids don't want to invest the time to finish an entire course, the site's Hour of Code tutorials offer lessons and exercises they can complete in 60 minutes -- including fun activities like coding animals to dance to songs by Katy Perry, Coldplay, and other artists. If your kid is interested in programming in any way, Code.org could be a great resource to unlocking their coding potential.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about careers coding can be used in. Are there any jobs your child might be interested in that involve computer science?

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  • Code.org teaches people how to code by breaking it down into small steps, but how can that approach help kids tackle other challenges?

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  • How does taking classes online compare to learning subjects from someone in person? Which works better for your child, and why?

Website details

  • Subjects: Language & Reading: following directions, reading
    Math: functions, grouping, patterns
  • Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: applying information, deduction, logic, part-whole relationships, strategy, thinking critically
    Self-Direction: initiative, personal growth
  • Genre: Educational
  • Pricing structure: Free
  • Last updated: August 29, 2019

For kids who love programming

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