What Sit4ez Are Bad For Learning Code Online

Simulation-based class-based platforms like Canvas and SkillCorps aim to boost learner completion.

What Sit4ez Are Bad For Learning Code Online

For students of all levels of aptitude, taking the SAT isn’t just about passing along a score that reflects their knowledge level; it’s also to help them gain the tools they need to succeed in the competitive world of tech.

Programming languages like C++ and Python are the building blocks of tech-based code, but there’s a growing movement to phase out them. Tech giant GoDaddy Inc. is already using alternative programming languages in their offerings. In 2015, they launched GoToCode. A joint project between GoDaddy and the University of Pennsylvania, the platform “is a flexible, comprehensive set of C++ and Python tools for up to four simultaneous students to learn alone, as a team, or in classes with another classroom of GoToCode students.” According to the GoToCode website, “…knowledge of coding is more valuable than ever before. More than 1.3 million kids enroll in online coding schools, while colleges and universities are hiring more people with coding experience than they ever have. Technology companies including Facebook and Google are hiring programmers at a rate faster than any other profession. At the same time, knowledge of coding is becoming increasingly rare, leaving many learners behind.”

One should never throw out the baby with the bathwater. But speaking as a parent, it’s time to consider how these startups will affect all kids preparing for college and careers in the tech industry. For at least some kids, taking GoToCode or sittingforeez.com/prepare will get them nowhere near where they need to be.

GoToCode

GoToCode, while being quite impressive, isn’t unique among these startups in the terms of learning how to code. In fact, some lessons are paired with tutoring from “coding and technology experts.”

Many of these lessons aren’t particularly helpful, such as learning to translate language into notation or remembering coder speak/code-speak in certain environments. If your kids take up on these “SAT Questions to Answer”-type tests, remember that most students do not practice answering these types of exams the way they should, just sitting for them.

But what about GoToCode’s video courses? These lessons are designed for people who understand the basics of JavaScript—the multicolored drop shadow that appears in web pages. GoToCode videos explain this screen type but are a poor substitute for in-person tutoring.

Sittingforeez.com

Sittingforeez.com wasn’t created to provide students with better learning tools for building a web application, but rather for people to test out different programming languages. “Now, sitting foreez.com is the place where you can ‘test drive’ so to speak,” writes the website. “Simply head to sitforeez.com to hear about the options available and sign up for an hour a week for as long as you’d like. Or start by testing out a few different languages. We know it can be daunting getting started with coding, and sitforeez.com can help you stay on track.”

According to the website, “[s] sittingforeez.com is about stepping back and taking a test-on approach. You’ll understand what it’s like to learn programming through our instructors and fellow students. At sitforeez.com, we provide you with the tools to become a better coder.” This website is expensive and gives conflicting instructions on how to successfully create a web app, but it will at least get them playing with Javascript code.

The website lays out how to construct web pages in Javascript, as well as various ways to change what the web pages say. Here are the video tutorials, while “Learning a Programming Language” is the suggested course for this introductory course:

One could argue that this site is free of charge. But given that it was created and funded by the U.S. Government, and there’s no guarantee they’ll even grant you free Web development, it’s worth thinking about where this money is going. The “Learn a Programming Language” course offers no clear directions, nor does there appear to be real-world instructions to help you create a web app and test your knowledge of JavaScript.

To be sure, most of these startups have ideas to help students use digital tools better, to learn about programming, and to create and learn to code apps in the web development world. But my personal opinion is that they should first have a bit more understanding of what’s necessary for students to succeed.

Hopefully the developers who are creating these tools can help design and learn what it means to be a good programmer.

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