Coding. That is the new "foreign" language isn't it? Well, at least it's foreign to me. Our oldest has been wanting to learn about coding and how to do it. I did take Computer Programming in high school, but that doesn't mean that I have any idea about how to do it now. Um...high school was a long time ago and technology has come such a long way since then. That's why we jumped at the chance to review Code For Teens: The Awesome Beginner's Guide to Programming (Volume 1) by Code for Teens.
I'm so glad that we were able to receive this book for him to work through. Code for Teens was written very well and it did keep the interest of our 13 year old son. Let me tell you - that is a feat! Well done, Code for Teens. I also didn't have to force him to go work through it. He did it willingly. He actually did the first chapter in one sitting. He took him about an hour to get through it. Then the next day he worked through the Chapter 1 Quiz, Key Concepts, Drills, and Do It Yourself. Very cool.
He started up going through Chapter One. Then he made a mistake. We didn't know what to do. Would it mess everything up? We ended up starting over. Then, if he would have just kept reading, the author talks about what to do if you make a mistake. Thank you! That was very freeing for him to learn that.
As I said, there is a Quiz at the end of each Chapter. The answers are in the back of the book if you want your student to check the answers themselves. The author actually gives the student the option so I did as well. Our son wanted me to check the answers. It was a great way for him to show off the new knowledge that he had. He felt pretty good about being able to teach mom about something.
Then there are Key Concepts. This a list of the concepts that should have been learned throughout that chapter. The student is to go through the list and make sure that they understand each concept taught. I really like this kind of self-review.
After the Key Concepts is the Drills section. The student enters some code to see what happens. This seems to be a less-structured way to teach what some types of coding does. Our son liked this part. He thought that the results were interesting.
At the end of each chapter is a DIY project. This is a way to apply the knowledge that they have just acquired to a real-life situation. This really brings it all together for the student. I love it!
One suggestion that we had was that we wish that the book was spiral bound so that it would stay open easier while he was using it. If the book was spiral bound, it could lay flat on the table next to student as they were typing in the code from the book. We had no other problems with the book.
Here's what our 13 year old son had to say about Code for Teens:
It's very easy to understand and very helpful for beginners.
It walks you through every step.
It taught me that the computer was smarter than I thought.
I didn't think that that it knew anything, but it can do math.
He just turned 14 (yesterday) and he received the new Monopoly game that uses "debit" cards and a machine that reads all of the cards. As he was explaining the game to his grandma today, he said that he was impressed with the machine. "As a coder", I can appreciate all of the coding that had to go into making this game. His younger (9 year old) brother questioned him on that. He answered with "I can code some things." I love that he called himself a coder.
Code for Teens as given him the confidence to continue learning how to code. I can see this being the beginning to a life-long love of coding. I truly am thankful for Code For Teens: The Awesome Beginner's Guide to Programming (Volume 1). We can't wait to check out Volume 2!
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