Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Origins of Code Avengers

In June 2011 I began teaching my younger brother Javascript in the hope that he could help me with some web apps I was developing. Initially, I directed him to, a free resource I found useful when learning Javascript. I liked the ability to be able to type code, click a button and immediately see the results. My brother read a couple of the tutorials but didn't find it fun enough to maintain his interest. He claimed he was too busy with school work, and yet I always saw him playing games on the computer.

In contrast when I had shown him a Flash game called Light Bot, which taught computer programming concepts, he sat down and completed all the levels in a single sitting. I decided that if I was going to get him to learn programming, he needed a site that was more game like. Greenfoot was another another project I discovered that is along the lines of what I am thinking, but is for learning Java.

I searched for resources that were both FUN, FREE and at the right level of difficulty for my brother. I found a site called Code School that looks really nice and had great videos that accompany their interactive tutorials. The difficulty level it was OK for my brother, however it was not free and did not have Javascript lessons. I found some other sites that were quite fun, but were targeted at people that could already program.

In mid-September, 2011 I began creating my own interactive programming tutorials that I initially called AI Master. My goal was to make them fun and challenging. He enjoyed the 1st tasks I created so I made a few more.

Also, In September I discovered a new site called CodeCademy that had gone live in August, which was the closest thing to what I envisioned creating. I tried the lessons myself, and then on several family members. The site looks great, the difficulty level was perfect for beginners and they covered a lot of material in a short space of time. However, none of my testers really felt they had learnt anything by the time they got to the end of the lessons. Furthermore, none of my testers described the lessons as FUN.

In late October CodeCademy announced over a million $$ of venture capitalist funding. Over the past 5 months both the site and its lesson content have evolved into a fantastic free resource. However, I still believe there is room for improvement in the design of the lessons. Furthermore, it has to be possible to something that is more fun and game like.

On 21st November 2011, I sat down with my siblings to discuss possible names for the site I was creating. We decided Code Avengers was a good choice since the movie The Avengers was coming out in May 2012 and was available. At that meeting we also decided I should begin create lesson material for absolute beginners. My sister said she would work on a logo, by brothers would help out with testing and marketing the site when we got to that stage.

That night I registered and the following week uploaded the 1st version of Code Avengers.

1 comment:

  1. FYI you mistyped your website name: "We decided Code Avengers was a good choice since the movie The Avengers was coming out in May 2012 and was available."

    And its CodeAcademy not CodeCademy