What is a CodeWizardsHQ Class Like?
As a parent, when I look into an activity for my child, I want to know what it’s really like. Before I make an investment, I like to have all the nitty-gritty details. So I jumped at the chance to look beyond the CodeWizardsHQ website into the class itself. While we can’t show the class video for privacy reasons, I want to give you a quick introduction to what a CodeWizardsHQ class is like.
Login and Say Hi!
For class, I logged into the Zoom call 2 minutes early and also logged into my CodeWizardsHQ editing platform. The instructor, Alex Geer, and a couple students were already in the class and actively discussing one student’s side project. Alex’s camera was on and he was sharing his screen. Invested in the side project, Alex found the issue, explained the solution, and still got class started on time!
Review Your Homework
The first step in class was reviewing each student’s homework assignments. With 5 students in the class, Alex pulled up each assignment, clicked around to ensure everything was working as it should, and took the time to admire the signature touches that each student left on their work. It’s a good time for students to catch up with their instructor and each other. Then it was time for class.
Class is Live and Interactive
The Elementary School Coding Program Wizard Level 1 starts in Animation and Interactive Games with Scratch, building the concepts of coding with a block-based coding language. Students are taught the components that build a program and drag and drop them into place to complete their assignments. In class 3 of Wizard Level 1, Intro to Real World Programming, they start working with written code rather than blocks.
Teachers are live on camera and the kids can have cameras on or off. The live instruction portion of the class was accompanied by a slideshow. Each step was explained on the slide and then Alex would switch tabs into Scratch as he showed again how to do the assignment.
First, he showed the finished project they were going to accomplish in this day’s class. My mic was on mute so I was free to laugh as I listened to eager kids take off before they even received instruction, confident about the task, and enthusiastic to do it themselves. Alex had his work cut out as he tried to capture the attention of 5 children to explain some of the finer points of how the code worked, but he impressed me. The kids felt free to ask questions and Alex had time to help solve problems when needed.
Learn the Skills, Then Get Creative
There was plenty of room for variation and self-expression in the lesson and the Scratch platform. The kids were adding their own spin on things. One quite literally causing his elements to spin.
The majority of the class time was spent walking the students through the day’s project, step by step adding more complexities to the code, explaining how and why things worked.
Alex kept his students engaged with regular questions and interactions, prompting them to observe what was in front of them, to predict what would come next, and asking them about the work they were producing on their own screens.
Practice At Home
When the lesson was complete, it was time for the homework! The first homework assignment was an extension of what they were working on in class. Alex showed them the final product he hoped to see in the next class, explaining both verbally and in writing how to do the extra bit. There was a bonus step to challenge them that Alex didn’t explain how to do, but they were given the instructions to make it happen (if they could think like a programmer). The second homework assignment was a re-creation of what they did in class with different graphics, further cementing the principles.
There’s plenty of student support
Alex repeatedly reminded his students throughout the class how and where to access help. He mentioned 5 different options.
- Rewatch the video. Even if they experienced lagging or dropping out of the Zoom call, the video recording would not have those glitches and they’d be able to catch everything they missed and/or everything they wanted to hear one more time.
- Review the Slides. The presentation slides are available immediately after each class so that students can review the information from class step by step.
- Direct Messaging him. The instructors are available to help students even outside of class. Usually, they can give enough instruction to get kids sorted and back on track!
- Login to Homework Help. Available for an hour 5:30-6:30p CT every weekday and offers live assistance to anyone who logs in!
- Office Hours. When all else fails and kids really need extra help to understand something, they can sign up for an office hour where they’ll get live 1-on-1 attention.
CodeWizardsHQ boasts a 93% student success rate and given all the effort they’re putting into making sure these kids understand the coding concepts, I’m not surprised!
Complete a Project in Every Class
This particular class project was on raining tacos, where students programmed tacos to fall from the top of the screen down to the bottom. Each student added their own twist from choosing different background images to choosing different objects to rain down. We even saw some color-changing spinning tacos. The students had so much fun letting their imagination loose and making it happen on the screen! They were really proud of themselves and they had good reason to be.
Check out some of the games they created here:
And just like that the hour class was over! I had been surprised when a student mentioned earlier in the class that he and a few of his classmates gathered in their own Zoom call after class to collaborate on side projects. But after finishing the class, I get it. The class and homework assignments were fun and engaging, they urged you to dive right in and get coding. I love that the kids were interacting with each other and even forming friendships outside of the class period.
It’s definitely worth trying if your child loves games and computers. They offer a 4 session, 100% money back guarantee so you can really dive in and let your child decide if the class is a good fit.
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