Wednesday, September 30, 2020

REVIEW: Coding for Kids Annual Membership by Simply Coding

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

My 12-year old son was very interested in trying his hand at coding, so we were excited to review the Coding for Kids Annual Membership by Simply Coding.


WHAT IS IT?:

Simply Coding offers the Coding for Kids Annual Membership that gives kids a year of access to a huge variety of online courses in a variety of useful topics. Kids can learn to code in courses that teach HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Python, and/or Java.  Students can even upload their programs and test them out!  They can create apps, games, and websites.Website

Kids can also access live mentor chat support from 9 AM – 6 PM CST on weekdays, and they can get email support in the evenings and on weekends, so help is just a few clicks away.

This subscription is targeted at students ages 11-18 and provides over 300 hours of self-directed instruction!  Special pricing is available through October 1st, making an individual annual membership just $99 (reg. $149) and a family membership just $179 (reg. $229).  You can even do a FREE 10-day trial prior to making any payment.

There’s even more included with this membership, but I’ll describe that more in detail below.


OUR EXPERIENCE:

We initially thought the coding courses were the only things available in this subscription, which was enough to peak my 12-year old son, Holden’s, interest.  But once we got access to the dashboard, we quickly realized that there were a whole lot more technology courses available besides the actual coding courses!  That was enough to get my husband and myself pretty excited, too! 

Here, you can see the variety of coding courses available for kids.  These were the courses we had expected to find.

Simply Coding Courses


But then we noticed those other tabs and realized there were 3 other categories of courses we could also access.  Here, you can see the variety of Simply Media courses available.

Simply Media Courses


The next tab showed us all of the Simply Tech Essentials courses we could access.

Simply Tech Essentials Courses


And finally, the last tab showed us all of the Simply Tech for Kids courses.

Simply Tech for Kids Courses


In total, there are 46 different courses you can take with your annual membership!  And there are so many interesting topics there that I feel like it’s appealing to the whole family, even the adults.

Holden was the first one to try out the site.  He jumped right into the JavaScript Game Design course.  This was totally new to him, as he has never tried any type of coding before but loves to play video games and was curious how it all worked. 

When he started the course, he went through an introduction and was instructed to download a program that he could use to code his game.  I have parental controls on his school laptop that restrict where he can go, so I had to jump in at this point to bypass our controls in order to download the program for him.  After that, he was off and running entirely on his own.

JavaScript Lesson


Each course gives a suggested pace to follow, and there are great instruction videos throughout the lessons.  The JavaScript Game Design Course had a total of 10 lessons with a 5-question quiz after every lesson and timed tests given at the halfway point and at the end of the course.  He had to upload his game at 3 different checkpoints, with the last being his final project. 

The course walked him through the coding process and taught him what it all meant and how to put it together.  When he uploaded his game at the end, he was able to test out how well it worked.  He created a simple “Pong” type game, but he noticed that when he tested his program, one side wasn’t scoring properly, so he was able to go back and figure out what he’d done wrong.  That was a great learning experience for him, and he got very animated as he told me all about how it had worked and how he’d been able to complete it by himself.  When I checked my email the next day, I got a parent message that let me know he had successfully completed his first game.

JavaScript Email


He was really interested in the course that taught mods for Minecraft, but he said he couldn’t do that one because he doesn’t have the Minecraft game.  Since most of the other courses were not yet unlocked, his only other coding option was the Intro to Websites course, which he began playing around with a bit next.

In the meantime, I couldn’t help my excitement about the other types of courses available for myself!  So I perused the other tech courses and had my eye on quite a few.  I decided to start with something practical.  Back before I had kids, I worked full-time in an office environment, and my company sent me for professional training on all the Microsoft Office courses.  I was then expected to keep up-to-date on them and be responsible for training all the other office staff on those programs, so I was very adept as using them.  However, that was a long time ago, and while I still use some of those programs at home from time to time, they have changed quite a bit after all these years.  I figured this was the perfect opportunity to tweak my knowledge of these programs and get myself up to speed again.  With that in mind, I began the Simply Tech Essentials courses called Microsoft Excel – Fundamentals.

This course contained 5 modules intended to be completed within 5 weeks.  Each module had a short instruction video lasting under 10 minutes, and then there was a short quiz after each lesson.  At the end, there was a final exam.  When you completed a quiz, it gave you your score, and you had the opportunity to repeat the quiz as many times as you wanted before moving on to the next module.  The program keeps track of your scores and your progress.  Course progress looks like this, shown as a percentage of the course you’re working on.

Course Progress


As a parent, you can also view achievements for each student on your account.  For some reason, though, Holden’s completed course showed up here, but mine never did, even though it shows 100% progress in the graphic above.  I never could figure out why that was, except that I couldn’t get the program to advance out of the congratulations screen at the end.  I suspect that’s why it never registered as completed on the parent dashboard.  It’s probably just a technical glitch.

Dashboard


Here is what a quiz question looks like within my Excel Fundamentals course.

Quiz - Excel Fundamentals


Here is how it shows your quiz results instantly.

Quiz Results - Excel Fundamentals


And when you’ve completed the course, here is how it congratulates you at the end!

Course Completion - Excel Fundamentals


Now that I’ve completed that course, I plan to move on to the advanced Excel course next.  After that, I am thrilled to learn more about how to use Adobe Photoshop.  I don’t have the full Photoshop Program, but I do have Adobe Photoshop Elements, so I’m hoping I can learn some tips and tricks that can be applied to the lighter version of the program, as well.  I use it for scrapbooking, so that will be purely for fun!

I told Holden that he should also explore the Keyboarding 4Kids course in the Simply Tech4Kids section, as well, to brush up on his keyboarding skills.  I think at some point, he would also enjoy learning how to set up a Kids’ YouTube Channel.  There are just so many possibilities with this membership!  My husband wants to brush up on some of his Microsoft Office skills, as well, so I’ll be adding him to our account as a student next.  Our membership allows for a total of 3 students.

The bottom line is that this membership has something for everyone in the family with so many courses to offer.  I think you’ll find it useful and very easy to navigate.

Check out what other Crew members have to say about this membership by clicking the banner below.

2 comments:

  1. Can you please give me an idea how long it took your son to do each lesson in the Beginning Javascript Game Design course?

    ReplyDelete