Programming and Development Software for Educators

A sound understanding of programming is a useful skill in almost any career. Arming your students with critical thinking skills and the confidence to tinker with code will stand them in good stead for the future. We have educated a huge variety of programmers and web-developers, not only for education – for example, genius team of Magento extentions developers. Here is a quick look at some of the best tools for teaching coding in the classroom.

Programming Tools for Older Students

Codecademy

http://www.codecademy.com

Codecademy is a free-to-use interactive website with tools to help students learn web development skills ranging from simple HTML and CSS markup to programming with Python, Ruby, JavaScript, jQuery, and more. The courses can be followed from within your web browser, and there is no need to install an IDE, compiler or any server software. Students can start courses in the classroom and finish working on assignments from home.

W3Schools Try it Yourself

http://www.w3schools.com/

The W3Schools Try it Yourself editor is another good example of “Learn by Doing”. Learners can follow W3Schools courses to learn HTML, XML, CSS and JavaScript by coding in their web browser. The W3Schools site also offers lessons in server-side programming, web services and other technologies, however these are not supported in the Try it Yourself editor.
Programming Tools for Younger Students

Scratch

http://scratch.mit.edu

Scratch is not a web development language, but it is a great introduction to programming for young children. Scratch is a free-to-use application for creating interactive stories and games. The program uses “building blocks” to allow learners to add simple logic and interactivity to their projects. Scratch projects can be converted to Flash to share with web users.

HacketyHack

http://hackety.com/

HacketyHack is a simple program for Windows which will help your students to learn the basics of the Ruby programming language – which is the language used by Twitter and many other popular wbesites. The HacketyHack app requires installation, but it is a relatively small download (less than 10MB). HacketyHack is quite text-heavy, so is best used for older children who will appreciate typing in code and seeing it work in real time.

PyGame

http://www.pygame.org/

PyGame is a game development library for the Python programming language. Both Python and PyGame are free to use, and there is a wealth of free information, tutorials and even code samples available for both tools. If you prefer to rely on open-source tools and set your own lessons, then using PyGame to teach basic programming principles is a great option. Python is a beginner-friendly language, but the progression to other, instudtry standard languages is smooth, especially compared to other common beginner languages such as Visual Basic.