Coding Websites for Students

There has been an explosion in the number of companies that aim to help students learn a new coding language. They all have varying price structures and the interface is a bit different on each site. Here is a quick summary:
CodeAcademy is perhaps the most popular coding site in The Hamlin Middle School. It offers many programming languages, from HTML to JavaScript to Python. “Every exercise on Codecademy has its own individual Q&A Forum where you can ask and answer questions about that exercise. At the bottom of the editor for each exercise is a link called Q&A Forum.” Because of its user-friendly environment and the number of choices for free coding courses, CodeAcademy is my favorite for learning to code a modern coding language.
CodeSchool has significantly fewer free options that CodeAcademy, however the courses are a bit more robust, including topics such as the iOS Language Path, which allows users to build applications for iPhones and iPads. Unlimited access to all content is $29 per month*. If you are serious about learning to code, and you are willing to make a financial investment, this is probably the best choice.

* Normal pricing is $29/month/user but there are special educational rates:
Monthly: $19/student.
6 Months of Access: $95/student
Annual Access: $190/student
CodeHS is another site that offers very little for free. However, for $25 a month, all site content is available. The free content is very approachable and emphasizes basic coding concepts suitable for young learners. CodeHS seems to focus on courses, such as Introduction to Computer Science. It takes a more balanced approach to learning about coding than other online sites, with a gradual progression into more complex topics. CodeHS is growing, and I expect to see good things in the next few months.
Scratch is an extremely popular site that teaches learners to think like a programmer. It uses drag and drop blocks to create if/then loops, variables, and “sprites.” Young learners (as low as third grade) can learn Scratch basics. There are many resources available to help students learn to code in Scratch and kids love it! Simply put, it is fun. And it is completely free.
“CS First is a free program that increases student access and exposure to computer science (CS) education through after-school, in-school, and summer programs.” CS First provides coding lessons in Scratch. This site is great for teachers who want to create a coding class or club and have little or no coding experience. Tutorial videos and highly structured lessons, which even includes a teaching script, make this an extremely approachable product.

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