Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Student Success Story: Kyle McKay (Entrepreneur)

Learning a new language is challenging, I should know - shortly after high school, I lived El Salvador for two years. I was soon immersed in a new language and culture I knew little about. Learning to code is a similar experience, but with the fun and intuitive lessons, Code Avengers helped accelerate my coding skills and launched me into developing my own website.

So Why To Learn to Code?

Coding is the language of the 21st century, and those that know it will get farther ahead than those that don’t. It seems like many the great entrepreneurs of our age know how to code, or at least they know the basics. I knew that if I wanted to fulfill my dream of being an entrepreneur, I needed to learn the basics of coding.

Why Code Avengers?

Initially, I started to learn code using another popular website, but found myself losing interest and never finished the lessons. When I first started coding with Code Avengers, I was surprised at how much fun it was to code. The lessons are well thought out and build upon each other. A feature I have really come to love is the notepad which allows me to take notes during the lessons and have easy access to them in case I need to look something up in other lessons. It’s been little details like these that have made Code Avengers so awesome!

What has been the most challenging part? How did you tackle that?

The most challenging part of learning to code has been to keep going amidst frustration. As with learning any new language, you will mess up, and there will be times you don’t know what you’re doing wrong. It was very similar to my experience learning Spanish. My advice is to take a step back, do something else, and come back to it later. Also, to learn Spanish, I literally had to immerse myself in the language. Find ways to immerse yourself with code. Do the lessons multiple times, find other resources to help you practice and find ways to apply the things that you’ve learned. When I started building a website, I found learning to be a lot easier. Real life application solidifies the concepts you learned.

What are You Doing with Your New Skills?

On one of my return travels to El Salvador, I met several people interested in starting their own business or growing their current business. However, they lacked the education and resources to take themselves to the next level. I applied the things I learned in Code Avengers to start the front-end development of my website shortly after my return (http://universidademprendedor.net). It will offer video tutorials from subjects ranging from sales, to accounting and finance, funding, business development, etc. It's still in the works, but it has been a great opportunity to apply my coding skills and I will soon be able to give back to a people and culture I have come to appreciate and love.

So…What’s Next?

I plan to keep learning how to code and working on my website. I’m looking forward on learning new skills and applying these skills until I become just as proficient and confident as I am in Spanish, and hopefully, change the world!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Support Code.org's 1 Hour of Code initiative!

The 2013 CSTA teacher's conference concluded with an an exciting announcement from Code.org founder Hadi Partovi...

December 8-15 is Computer Science Education Week and Code.org is pushing for 100,000 educators and volunteers to bring 1 Hour of Code to 10,000,000 students during that week. The campaign has a stellar list of backers including Amazon.com, Google, Microsoft and Apple, plus Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg.

The Hour of Code initiative aims to demystify "code", and show as many beginners as possible that anyone can learn the basics. Code.org will provide a set of self-guided one-hour tutorials that teachers without Computer Science backgrounds can use in their classes.

Code.org is offering fantastic prizes for schools that participate! 50 schools – one in every US state – will win a classroom of computers. The first 100,000 educators to host an Hour of Code get 10 gigabytes of free Dropbox storage. PLUS 50 schools get a group video conference with Bill Gates, Square’s Jack Dorsey or Google’s Susan Wojcicki.

Why teach Computer Science?

First, there are lots of amazing jobs in the tech industry. Second, learning Computer Science gives you valuable super powers that will benefit virtually any career!

What is Code Avengers doing?

Code Avengers provides fun and effective online tutorials that teach you how to code apps, games and websites. Our courses are carefully designed by expert educators to be perfect for beginners of all ages.

To show our support for CSEdWeek, we are developing two exciting NEW one-hour tutorials that introduce graphics, game and app development; so stay tuned! And if you haven't already, try our existing JavaScript and HTML/CSS courses at CodeAvengers.com.

What can YOU do?

Register your support for this initiative, and find out more about what you can do to get involved at http://csedweek.org/participate.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

New Features

We have been working hard recently to include some of the most requested features.

Reset: you can now redo lessons you did not score full points on, or would like extra practice and revision of. Lessons can be reset from the lesson index page located at http://codeavengers.com/index

Reference: there is now a new interactive JavaScript, HTML and CSS reference that includes short descriptions of each command, tag and property and well as example code for you to play with. You can use this when you get stuck in a lesson, or as a revision tool. The reference can be accessed from the HTML5/CSS3 and JavaScript course pages, or by visiting http://codeavengers.com/reference

Projects: The projects area allows you to create your own JavaScript, HTML and CSS projects. In the future we will add the ability for you to create multiple projects and to share your projects with the world!

Toolbox: The toolbox tab on the course pages gives quick access to various tools and links that are used throughout the Code Avengers courses.

Customization: You can now personalize the way Code Avengers looks for you. If you don't like blue... feel free to make the background PINK. You will have to score 1000 points to unlock this feature. For every 1000 points you score, you can make more customisations by going to http://codeavengers.com/settings

If you have any features you would like to see included in the next release of Code Avengers, please send an email to feedback@codeavengers.com.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Level 2 HTML, CSS and JavaScript Courses

The Code Avengers Level 2 JavaScript and HTML courses have now been available for a few months. Schools have been paying for these courses since the beginning of the year. However, until last month they had been freely accessible. A paywall is now in place and those who wish to continue level 2 should visit http://codeavengers.com/payment to purchase access.

In the near future we are planning to upgrade our free level 1 HTML5 and CSS3 course. If you would like to support the maintenance and development of the free Code Avengers courses, then feel free to make a donation. We would love your support!

We have big plans for exciting level 3 courses, but need your help to fund this development. To all those who have contributed suggestions, feedback and finances thus far... THANKYOU so much!!! We really appreciated it!!!

And remember, if you have any suggestions to make our tutorials more fun and effective... please drop us a line!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

New Initiative: CodeAvengers Code Camp

For forty-eight of New Zealand’s high school aged computer enthusiasts, getting the most out of their summer holiday took on a whole new meaning earlier this year. While many other kids their age were at home spending their holiday time playing games on their phones and computers, these kids were at a three-day code camp learning how to create their own games.

Code Avenger’s first ever code camp was held on Jan 21st -23rd 2013, in and around the Computer Science Department of The University of Waikato situated in Hamilton, New Zealand and was designed primarily for high students aged between 12-15, though any age could benefit from attending such a camp.

For three days, students learned the basics of computer programming and web design in a fun and interactive way using the latest technology (CodeAvengers Learning Platform). They not only learnt the beginnings of creating their own web and mobile apps and games but enjoyed lots of group coding and team challenges which resulted in new friendships with other like-minded kids.

Having a keen interest in such things as animation, games and design made the camp a perfect learning experience for many of the students. However, whether a code beginner, intermediate or more experienced, the camp was valuable for all those involved. Better still, code camp gave students a head start on the 2013 digital technologies courses at school.

Some of the other camp activities included, swimming, orienteering, outdoor team challenges, designing virtual cars on the computer and then assembling a model car in the engineering lab and racing them, listening to guest speakers from the I.T. Industry and lots of tasty food.

When students were asked by one of the guest speakers to raise their hands if they were enjoying the camp thus far, many raised both arms in the air. “Overall we feel like everyone enjoyed themselves and gained something from the three days.” - Creator of Code Avengers (Michael Walmsley)

Check out some of the feedback below

“On behalf of my son, Cameron, may I say a huge thank you to the whole Walmsley family and helpers for an amazing event. Cameron thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I’m not sure if all the parents realised the real effort that went into this event – but I certainly do, so thank you all, and please let us know if there are any follow-up events or if there is any other way we can help.” -parent (Spencer Scoular)

“Code Camp was definitely awesome!! I would definitely attend it again” –student (Jacob Cundy)

“Overall, we thought it was really good and Isla really enjoyed it. It is a great initiative for which there is a huge need. As discussed with you we find it nearly impossible to employ Software Developers, particularly New Zealand born and trained. So any initiatives that encourage children still at school into pursuing an I.T. career is invaluable to the industry.” –parent (Heather Neil, REDCRATER software Solutions Ltd)

“Had an amazing time, enjoyed the company of people who were interested in the same thing, and the tutors were fantastic and very helpful” –student (Bene Herilhy)

“Thank you for running this camp for the kids. I have never seen Michael as animated about learning as he has been over the past three days. I only hope he doesn’t get bored with school this year. Both Rose and Michael enjoyed their time at Code Avengers Camp, hopefully you run another one next holidays” –parent (Karen Leathem)

"It was perfectly organised” –parent (Robyn Fulton)

“Thanks to Code Camp I now know that I would like to pursue a career in I.T. Hearing all the guest speakers and working through codeavengers.com has opened my eyes and inspired me” - student (Harmin Transfield)

“What I learnt from this code camp is I do not want a job in computers…it’s just not my thing, but I had a lot of fun here at code camp!” –student (H. Hemi)

“It was good to see Robert get so involved with everything and interact with the other kids. He really enjoyed the experience and using codeavengers.com which has given him a good grasp on the computer programming. Thanks Code Avengers!” – Robert’s Teacher Aide

Future Code Camps

For those who missed out on our last camp, who would like to find out if they might be interested in a future in the I.T. industry, a second CodeAvengers Code Camp is scheduled for Monday 22nd- Wednesday 24th April, 2013, at The University of Waikato.

To register visit codeavengers.com/codecamp now!

It is hoped that with the support of sponsors more Code Camps will be run in other cities across New Zealand and eventually the whole world, so that hundreds can benefit from this amazing experience. If you would like to help setup or sponsor a CodeCamp in your city send a message to codecamp@codeavengers.com.

Sponsors

And finally a big thanks to our major sponsors The University of Waikato who provided the facilities and the NZ IITP who paid for the t-shirts. And also to our minor sponsors Google and Orion Health for their support.