I’ve been teaching the programming languages of html and css for years. Every year I try and bring my students to a higher understanding of coding while still letting them experience the pride of creating something that they can share with the world. There are many programs out there from Codecademy to Khan Academy which I have used in the past to teach the fundamentals. I still use and love Khan Academy but my 8th graders have used the courses in Khan a lot, and it’s fun to venture to other cool learning platforms out there.
Last year I found Dash and I hinted to students that if they made an account and went through the lessons in the program their code would shine. About 15-20% of my students took my advice and went through some of the lessons on their own and their webpages were the most elegant in the class. Unfortunately many students missed out on the platform.
Below is a picture of the platform. There is a lesson in a slideshow on the top left corner, the area you code on the bottom left and the area you see the final product on the right:
This school year, I decided to assign my students the first 2 projects in Dash. Dash is an introductory course to General Assembly. They give you 4 taster courses for free and then if you wish you can purchase their 10 week course of lessons.
With 2 weeks of coding using Khan and in class activities in their heads, Project 1 has been pretty streamlined. Some students remarked how fun the lessons are in Dash. Over the next few weeks, I will see if they struggle with the next set of lessons. (and report back)
Here are the projects that students will be creating. This year projects one and two are mandatory, but project 3 is a bonus which they are not required to complete, but will help them create interactive and cool sites.
- Project 1 (review of skills already learned)
- Project 2 (students learn how to code for various devices. While my blog is about places, Students will pick out their 3 favorite projects from 2016 to showcase)
- Project 3 (make sure to click on the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade tabs. If students choose to do this bonus project they will create the project on 3 high schools they are interested in attending. Our district is School of Choice, so 8th graders apply to the various high schools in the district.)
I definitely recommend the platform, It encourages students to take advantage of the many free resources on the net that teach marketable skills. Also it has the cool factor, something that keeps students engaged and learning. If you are new to coding, this is also a great place to begin your journey.
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