Creatubbles is a safe online site for students/children to share their creative and artistic skills. There is teacher support on the site too. That is all I can say. You need to take a look and see if it suits your purposes.
Codecademy is free and for anyone who wants to learn coding. The courses are self-paced and you cannot move onto the next lesson until you have mastered the first. The content is delivered in small , manageable pieces so that you never feel swamped and each lesson has a hint section so you can master what you are doing if you get stuck. There is no assumed knowledge and the content is put onto the screen in a very clear way so that you don’t feel like you are swamped by information. At the completion of each section you are awarded a badge. There are plenty of coding choices and so it is a very good place to start to learn coding and it is a site students could easily use to build their coding knowledge without any sort of assessment pressure as such. The badges and the fact you can progress to the next lesson tell you that you are making progress so the positive feedback is built in. So far, it’s the site where I feel the most comfortable and feel like I can learn at my own pace and in my own way.
I have completed my first Udemy Course – Coding for Entrepreneurs Basic by Justin Mitchel. To get the certificate you have to listen to every single part of the course. It’s the one I decided to do to get myself back into coding, to give me a framework and to create some learning challenges for me. It has achieved all of that. Justin Mitchel explains everything, he shows you everything, he works through the glitches, he offers learning suggestions and everything is on video , thank heavens, so you can pause and absorb. I explained in my post How’s the coding going? that I had stalled with the action part of the course because I couldn’t sync the database and runserver. I then had to think. Do I give up all I have learned? Do I just abandon it and leave it behind and start something new? Do I regroup and start all over again? What do I do? I left it for a while and started working on learning Python coding so I could understand that better. I shifted all my coding stuff to my LinuxMint laptop. I could move forward. Udemy was meanwhile sending me gentle reminders I had not finished the course. Was I going to start from scratch again? What was my plan? I decided to finish the course and get the whole context in front of me and now I have done that I can move forward. Justin Mitchel goes through a lot of HTML stuff for web pages and explains it well and why you need to put it where you put it. I understand all that HTML coding far better now. He shows the FTPing and getting the site working live, and my decision is to leave that for now. I am going to go back over it on my Linux Laptop and try to resolve the database syncing and get the page running virtually. Justin Mitchell recommends some good sites to learn coding better so I need to have a look at that. I need to specifically work with the Django tutorials on their site and then, I shall be in a good frame of mind to start over and work it all through. As a student I have learned a lot and have had to use my brain to troubleshoot and work out what is a plan for me. The course is there, I can use it, I can learn from it and I can benefit from it. The best thing it has done for me is provide structure to my learning , give me insight and offer opportunities for me to construct my own learning. I can sit down and work out my personal learning plan now and go back to the course to iron out the bits which I couldn’t put into action.
I am following through on my Coding for Entrepreneurs Udemy Course. It’s an opportunity to try out online learning and a chance to get myself back to coding. Python is what I chose and this course has been teaching me how to set up a virtual test environment and create a Django project page. I have no idea what this will do other than get me somewhere I have never been. I have learnt again that to code you have to be totally exact and very precise. I have learnt that this type of online learning is demanding but ultimately very satisfying. I could follow and do most of it but I have gone slowly and taken my time. I had a couple of stumbling blocks and that is coding. If things do not appear to go according to plan you have to use your brain and thought processes to logically work out the solution.Throwing your hands up in the air and having a meltdown just does not cut it with coding. It forces you to think all the time in a very all-consuming way. Some of it will become habit again but then there will always be the times where my brain is up again the computer trying to figure out solutions. It is constant problem solving. I am more than happy with all the Command Line stuff I have been doing and it is exciting to see it all take shape. I am looking forward to seeing what I can now do with Django. I still have quite a bit of this course to go so it will absorb me for a while. At the moment I am very much a supported learner . It will be interesting to discover at which point I can become independent.
Udemy has attracted millions in start up funding. Enough to make you sit up and notice and know this is the future. It is a site where anyone can teach anything but they do have their checks and balances in place. If you want to know how to make apps for Apple watches or learn a language you can go to Udemy and learn. It’s a pay as you learn site. It will grow so that you will be able to search and learn whatever you want. It runs on instructors getting ratings and reviews and then rising to the top. I am never comfortable with this model but it will sort itself out. Integrity and authenticity do shine in cyberspace but you also approach sites with the knowledge that likes, comments, followers can be bought. I have never seen the value of that because it does not help. Udemy and sites like it have presumably built in some way of keeping things honest and they certainly monitor what is being taught. It runs in 80 languages and so it is enabling more people to access learning . An online site like this is making very real the notion of lifelong learning and 24/7 learning. We no longer have the constraints of time and place hampering us from learning what we need and want to know. At the moment there is a real focus on this site with technology and technology development. The best thing is there are some free courses you can sign up to. The value in these is you will learn something but then you will understand how a concept like this works and can make informed decisions about which paid courses to take on. Tech Crunch has an overview here. It would be an interesting challenge for teachers and preservice teachers, in particular, to try to construct courses which would be successful and valued on site like Udemy. It would also be important for teachers and preservice teachers to take courses on sites like this so they understand how they work, what they do and what is offered.