What is CodeWizardsHQ?
This article is sponsored by CodeWizardsHQ but the thoughts and experiences are my own truth. I would not have shared my experience with this company if it had not been a positive and inspiring one. The links in this article are also affiliate links meaning a small percentage of sales will support Secular Homeschooler at no extra cost to you. Okay, onto the good stuff.
Sitting In On A Coding Class
I had the privilege to sit in on one of their online coding classes for kids and was pleasantly surprised.
My 10-year-old daughter watched the session with me as well, so I could get her input on it. She’s been interested in learning video game coding for ages. This happened to be a capstone session for an advanced course on creating video games! My daughter, who knows nothing about coding (yet), was engaged and enticed by the whole session.
I think her exact words were, “I want to understand everything they’re saying one day! It’s so neeeeeeerdy!” (This is a high-praise term in our household.)
What caught my attention first and foremost was that this group was very comfortable and appeared to have a friendly working classroom atmosphere. I don’t know which class session this was in the series, but they were chatting up the course content like they’ve been hanging out for ages.
I loved hearing a couple of students vent about their struggles with Python or even teaching their instructor what in the world a pagoda is and how they’re using it in their video game. (It’s a multi-tiered tower!)
Having experienced an upswing in Zoom classes for my kids this school year, I’m always pleased when I see a group of kids from all parts of the world that have built a bond with one another. These online classrooms can be a safe and comforting space for our learners.
The teacher was fun, engaging, and very knowledgeable about the content. He did a review to discuss what was covered in the previous session to set expectations for the current session. It opened up space to troubleshoot problems that had occurred between then and now.
He took the time to patiently answer questions before starting the lesson for the day so that no one felt like they were left behind.
The teacher was also able to access the students’ classwork via a side-screen he had set up. Being an online teacher myself, I was super jealous of how efficient the whole process was. He could pinpoint their exact issue by seeing what they’re working on without ever having to ask the students to do a screenshare.
I caught a light and genuine sense of humor about coding errors. No one had to feel bad for not understanding the concepts right away. It was a safe space to get things wrong and try again.
The consensus was that this is tricky and takes trial-and-error sometimes. The instructor was open and honest about being stumped himself on a couple of occasions and wrote things down to troubleshoot after class. I think that’s a fantastic example to set for students that creates an atmosphere of growth mindset and trust.
Their class project for this session was a “Plants vs. Zombies” encounter. Zombies are an enticing theme for students, therefore naturally engaging them.
I know the tiniest bit about coding, specifically in Python. I absolutely would have benefitted from having someone to patiently explain things to me when I got stumped or frustrated while studying a computer language. Maybe I wouldn’t have switched to a different college program. Who knows?
I do know that learning from books and pre-recorded lessons online left me feeling behind and lost. A caring teacher that understands what in the world they’re talking about can make a difference, especially on what is such a complex topic — especially for children.
The instructor was able to gauge the knowledge acquired and review previous content as needed, sometimes without even being asked. That’s one of the big perks of working with the same group of people for a more long-term project like code school. You get to know your students, and you get to know their learning cues.
An effective tactic in use was engaging students in messy practice. Rather than only giving them the correct answers to their problems or ideas, the instructor encouraged them to test it out.
So, all in all, it was a great class to observe. I’m thankful I got to do that. My daughter has even solidified her whim that this is what she wants to study more over the next year.
Here’s a screenshot of their course offerings and the system they use:
Conclusion: Super Secular!
To conclude this post and my thoughts on the CodeWizardsHQ experience, I want to share a few more features about these programs:
+The courses are each recorded for easy student review. That way, if your student had to miss a class or needed to go back and re-watch the presentation, they could do so.
+The class sides are readily available for reference as well. (I loved this kind of thing when I was in college. I could print the slides and take notes in the margins.)
+Students have access to live homework help on the weekdays. They don’t have to be perplexed with troubleshooting between class sessions.
+1:1 office hours are available to enrolled students as well.
+Students also have direct messaging abilities with their instructors.
These features are all OUTSIDE of the actual class sessions themselves.
CodeWizardsHQ also has informative articles to inspire and encourage their families, such as this one about STEM education, it’s meaning, and benefits. Find them on social media Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!