How 100,000 Students made our Coding Courses so much better.

I created my first code course in 2003. About 7 years ago, I started working with schools to bring coding to the classroom. I discovered that teaching JavaScript and Python (among other languages,) to middle school and high school students, is a whole different animal than teaching adult learners!

The best teacher: 100,000 students and their teachers!

I still remember deploying StudioWeb into our first two classrooms – the first month was a lot of fun! We quickly discovered the flaws in our app, and how we could improve the curriculum.

On a side note: As it turns out, what my father taught me years and years ago (my father was a teacher,) … turned out to be as true today, as it was back in the day: engagement is the key to success in the classroom.

In the first few months of working with schools, we learned that StudioWeb had it about 70% right to begin with. Over the next couple of years, we continued to refine StudioWeb based on student and teacher feedback. With over 100k students working with the StudioWeb app and curriculum, we were able to refine and create an effective, fun and easy to use app and curriculum.

“The first one (HTML5 course) I’m working on is GREAT! I’m on lesson 5 I think it is, and it’s really fun. My brother is on JavaScript and on about lesson 4. We’ll work through them and take some notes. I am really enjoying it so far.
Just wanted to let you know that we started. I really like the format.”

Jessica

Here are some of the specific metrics that helped us refine StudioWeb:

  • Student usage data – how students used the app.
  • Student grades in detail – allowed us to pinpoint problem spots.
  • Student feedback and suggestions.
  • Teacher feedback and suggestions.
  • Live observation – visiting schools and sitting in!

StudioWeb is now on version 3 (with 3.1 about to be released,) and our core curriculum was recreated (from scratch) in late 2015-16 to incorporate new language features and of course, what teachers and students taught us about a great course. For 2017 I am happy to say we will have an new Python course that covers the latest version of Python from the ground up: Powerful Python 3.

Hi Stefan,

This semester I made sure my classes got to start StudioWeb tutorials sooner than I have in the past. I am so glad I did, as many of my kiddos are really learning so much more than just a sampling, which is about all I feel we got to in the past.Anyway…as a result, some of my high achievers have blown past my competency level! So proud of them!

…one of my students just blurted out “mind blown” as he was doing HTML lesson! When I asked him why he said that he told me he just “…learned how to put links in and connect everything!”

Life is good!

If you would like to try StudioWeb, please feel free to contact us.

Stefan Mischook
StudioWeb.com

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Teaching Code in the Classroom – my TV interview!

I finally got around to getting this video of me on television, talking about the importance of students learning to code. It comes down to two big reasons:

  1. Accessing the huge number of high paying jobs in programming and coding.
  2. Brain training: learning to code is like pushups for the mind!

Watch my interview to learn more:

If you want to learn more about learning or teaching code, check out StudioWeb.com

Thanks!

Stefan Mischook
StudioWeb.com

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The Realities of Learning to Code

Hey!

In the following video, I answer someone’s question about his fears related to learning to code, and the feeling of being overwhelmed because of all the options.

Whether it be HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Python, PHP … the fear of learning to code is the same. After watching this video, I think you will find the process a less worrisome.

Check it out:

Thanks,

Stefan Mischook

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Need Help Teaching a Web Design Class?

I’ve been teaching web design and coding through my courses and personal mentoring since 2003. Over the last 6 years, I’ve been working with schools and teachers, to refine the process of teaching code. This is all found in the StudioWeb app and curriculum where we teach:

  • HTML5
  • CSS3
  • JavaScript
  • Python
  • SQL and databases

… Among other things.

Having said that, let me offer a few tips that will help you, whether or not you choose to automate your classroom with StudioWeb.

My top 8 web design teaching tips:

  1. Don’t teach old XHTML. This is no longer used in web design. Any curriculum that teaches XHTML should be avoided.
  2. The spiral teaching method is perfect for teaching code.
  3. Get your students writing code asap!
  4. CSS is a must learn in any web design curriculum.
  5. CSS offers a simple way to introduce animation into a web page – fun!
  6. Once students know the basics of HTML tags, have them research on the web for more tags you have not covered. Being able to use Google and the W3C to explore coding, is an important skill.
  7. Have your students build simple web pages first, then move them into websites. Very engaging and motivating for students to see their work becoming real websites!
  8. Have students take hand written notes writing out HTML, CSS and JavaScript code. Nothing beats that for retention.

There is so much more I could get into, but that will have to wait for another article.

Hope that helps!
Stefan Mischook
StudioWeb.com

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Helping Teachers Teach Web Design

StudioWeb has been refined over the last 6 years, as we listened carefully to teachers and students. As the founder, I knew that it was important for me to be on the frontline (if you will,) so I could hear first hand, what teachers and students were saying. I took the support calls and emails.

Still today, I personally handle the support request because it helps me direct my developers to make StudioWeb even better. Teachers win because they deal with me directly, and StudioWeb benefits from direct feedback that’s been so valuable over the years.

Teachers get 1-on-1 phone support with the course creator!

Teachers using StudioWeb will have direct access to me … I’m happy to take your calls and emails.

If you are a teacher who is unsure of coding, or even doesn’t know a thing about coding, you can rest assured that I will be there to support you.

That said, you will be amazed at how easy it is to teach, when using StudioWeb. Many teachers who use StudioWeb, have never taught code before. We have a 100% renewal rate!

… Continued here

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Python Course for High School and College Students

Our new course ‘Powerful Python 3’ will be out soon!

This is a brand new course that teaches Python 3.6, and is aimed at total beginners to programming. It’s a great course for first year computer science students and other learners.

Not just any Python course, it’s a StudioWeb Python course!

StudioWeb’s courses are unique in many ways, but at the end of the day, all that matters is the exceptional results we achieve.

StudioWeb’s Python course has the same easy to understand and fun video lessons (created by a published author, and highly experienced educator) that are found in all our courses. The videos combined with a our unique quizzing and code challenges, set in a gamified learning environment, promotes student engagement and amazing retention.

… Your students will quickly learn the foundational programming concepts and techniques, that will allow them to explore computer science with a solid foundation.

Besides teaching the basics of programming:

  • Variables, collection types in Python
  • Data types and type conversion
  • Functions, modules
  • Object oriented programming techniques and principles

… Students will be exposed best coding practices, tools that developers use, working with Python on different OS’ and Python’s place in the programming world. So StudioWeb’s ‘Powerful Python 3’ goes way beyond your typical Python course!

Sample Python video lesson: drawing with Python:

The following video lesson from Powerful Python 3, teaches students how to use conditional statements and a loop, to animate with the Python Turtle module:

Powerful Python 3 will be released in April 2017. Like all StudioWeb courses, Powerful Python 3 will come with hours of fine grained video lessons, comprehensive code challenges and quizzing, suggested classroom activities, powerfully accurate auto-grading, and real time student activity tracking.

If you would like to check out the video lessons before we release the course, please feel free to contact me.

Thanks!
Stefan Mischook
StudioWeb.com

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Creating Video for your Website or App

Video is common on the Web, and it is almost essential for many websites. In this article, I will give you a quick overview on how to produce video, the tools you can use, and what I’ve learned over the last 14 years of producing video for my websites and web apps.

A picture is worth a thousand words they say, given that you have 30 or 60 frames (images) per second of video, it seems to me that video is a worthwhile investment in your website or app!

Types of video: screencast vs live video.

What are screencasts and how to create them?

A screencast is just a video that captures whatever is going on, on your computer screen. There are dedicated apps/software that makes this easy. Here are a few options:

  • Quicktime on Mac
  • Camtasia Mac or PC
  • Screenflow

… And so many others! Check out this wikipedia page for a big list:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_screencasting_software

I’ve used several, but I tend to use Camtasia since I use both Mac and Windows. Having a screencasting app that works on both operating systems makes my life a little easier.

All the major screencasting apps come with built in editing tools and the ability to output your videos in a web friendly format. There are a few options, but you should probably just use the most popular: MP4.

Creating and editing live digital video.

Live video is any video that is not a screencast. It could be video of you vlogging (talking into the camera, sharing with the audience your profound thoughts), or perhaps a product video … just any standard video.

When it comes to creating video, you have a few options these days:

  • Digital camera / SLR
  • Video Camcorder
  • Smartphone video
  • Webcam

I’ve listed the video recording devices in the order of the quality of video they can produce, and the flexibility of the video recording. Meaning, dedicated digital cameras can often times produce higher quality video than a typical smartphone. But in addition, you get with the extra cost of a dedicated camera, a flexibility and consistency of video quality. Simply stated, you can do more, but you will pay more with a dedicated camera.  

That said, these days, several smartphones can match expensive digital cameras in many circumstances. For example: iPhone 7, Samsung S7 and Google Pixel can produce amazing video.

The camera you choose, depends on the kind of video work you want to do and what your budget is. If I were just starting out, I would just use my smartphone, especially if is one of the ones I listed above.

For my live video work, I use the Canon 80d because it provides a lot of flexibility in my video work. Since I am a solo video creator most of the time, the Canon 80d has two features that are crucial: amazingly fast dual pixel autofocus, and a flip screen so I can see myself.  It isn’t perfect, but it meets my needs. That said, I’ve done good video with other dedicated digital cameras, camcorders and even a webcam!

… In fact, some of the top Youtubers in the world use a simple webcam! They can produce decent video. The best one I know of is the Logitech HD PRO WEBCAM C920.

Options for including video on websites or apps.

Now that you’ve created your video or screencast, you need to get it live on the Web or into your app. Here are the basic options:

  1. Self hosted – you need to have nerd skills to get this done.
  2. Youtube – easiest but less control.
  3. Vimeo – easy with total control.

I use all three options. These days I would suggest just starting a Youtube or Vimeo channel. Both are free. Vimeo offers premium services at a cost and it might be well worth it depending on your needs. For example, with Vimeo, you can control what websites can embed your videos, you can create custom views, and controls for playback … it’s pretty cool stuff.

Youtube doesn’t provide these extra tools but it is still a great option, especially if you want to attract an audience.

A few video tips:

Video can be recorded in many different quality levels, the most common: 480p, 720p, 1080p and 4k. The higher the number, the better quality the video.

These days, you are best to record live video in 1080p since 99% of your audience will watch in1080p or less. 4k video is slowly being adopted, but it is such a beast to work with (huge files!) and most people will not want to download massive 4k video. I would suggest not recording 4k video for now.

Instead, record in 1080p (which is standard HD quality) and you will find the process of creating video much easier. Editing 4k video requires a very powerful computer compared to 1080p video.

That said, some would argue that if you have the camera that can record 4k video (modern smartphones can,) and you have a powerful computer, you might be better off recording in 4k, since you will have a much nicer source video to work with.

This means when you edit and render the video, downgrading it to 1080p, you will end up with a nicer video. Basically, having 4k video to start with, gives you more options, even if you render out the video at a reduced 1080p.

Thanks for reading!

Stefan Mischook

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Text based coding courses are more effective.

I’ve been developing websites and apps since the 1990’s, and been teaching code and producing code courses since 2003. One very important element of an effective code training curriculum, is having the students write actual code.

… It cannot be overstated how important writing code is, when it comes to understanding the concepts of code.

Visual Block Based ‘Coding’ is not Coding

Though tools like Scratch and other visual simulators have their place, they cannot replace text based coding courses.

Any developer can tell you, the act of writing actual code has a tremendous impact on the person’s speed of comprehension … basic coding concepts and techniques just sink in more easily.

With a properly structured text base coding course, students will learn the concepts and techniques of coding at an accelerated pace. If you want students to learn to code quickly and easily, I strongly suggest you leverage a text based code curriculum.

Full disclosure:

I created StudioWeb, which is a comprehensive text based code curriculum that teaches HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, Python, SQL and PHP. We always get amazing outcomes and have a 100% renewal rate with schools. Teachers and students love StudioWeb.

Thanks!

Stefan Mischook

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The Secret of an Amazing Web Design Course?

My father was a teacher for most of his career, and he taught me that courses had to be first and foremost, fun and engaging. He taught several trades, and so used a lot of physical demonstrations to keep students interested.

In his welding class, he would have students create a weld, and then have the other students try to break the weld with a hammer. All the students would lineup, and take a crack at breaking the weld with a big swing of the hammer.

… He turned the lesson into a game.

StudioWeb’s HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript courses are Gamified

With that in mind, when I first designed the StudioWeb app, I decided to make the entire learning process a game. Using ideas from modern videogames, as students learn to code with HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript, they score points, build a profile, unlock levels and achievements. This is just one way that students are engaged with StudioWeb lessons.

Good old fashioned teaching

Being from a family of teachers (father, uncles, cousins) I’ve been exposed to teaching practically my whole life. Though we are teaching a relatively new subject in web design and programming, good old fashioned teaching still is important!

What you will see in the hundreds of video lessons and quizzing that make up the core of StudioWeb’s curriculum, is a teaching technique that is effective. I’ll save the details for another blog post, but one thing that I found particularly effective in teaching code, is the spiral teaching method.

Conclusion:

Besides HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript, StudioWeb teaches PHP7, SQL, databases and for 2017, Python. If you would to try StudioWeb, please feel free to contact me! We can set you up a demo.

Thanks!

Stefan Mischook

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Python Course for Middle School

Hi,

I am happy to announce that we will be releasing a new course for schools: Powerful Python 3. Part of our collection of coding courses, designed specially for classroom learning.

Powerful Python 3 is designed for students (and teachers) who are totally new to code! The course is made up of easy to follow video lessons, followed by fun and effective quizzing and code challenges.

… Like all StudioWeb courses, we provide a complete curriculum that includes projects, a grading rubric and our powerful auto-grading system that provides accurate grades by course, chapter and lesson.

StudioWeb’s Python course will finally make learning and teaching Python, easy for the novice coder.

Please feel to contact us if you have any questions!

Stefan Mischook
StudioWeb.com

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