Curriculum builder, content provider, IDE, or Learning Management System? CodeHS is a lot of things, but let’s break down some of its key functionalities to see exactly how they work and how it compares to Coding Rooms.
1. Learning Management System & IDE
CodeHS has been around since its inception in 2012 and consequently has a strong foundation of approved curriculums and content for teaching 6th-12th grade level computer science courses. Their wide array of integrations with other Learning Management Systems (LMS) encourages easy adoption (with a price) from teachers using other popular platforms such as Google Classroom, Canvas, Blackboard..etc. Their LMS system is clear in ensuring their content is easy to teach and their curriculum is easy to manage from a teacher’s perspective.
They also have their own IDE that can run basic programs and switch between block-based and text-based programming. While their LMS system is noteworthy as a buy-in, their IDE is less exciting with functionalities that most basic free IDEs have. Conversely, Coding Rooms has an IDE interface that is interactive, allows you to see real-time changes, and provide comments all in a “Google-doc-like” fashion. During this pandemic, student collaboration and interactive learning have become even more important in building a classroom community. The Coding Rooms instructors dashboard ensures instructors can tap into each student’s workspace and track engagement metrics such as activity and run-time errors. It ensures students receive the help and support they need during remote learning, which sets it apart from your typical IDE platform.
2. Student Learning Experience
The content and curriculums that CodeHS offers from 6th-12th grade are focused on the personalized learning model of enabling students to go through the curriculum at their own pace. While this model works in supporting students with different learning abilities, it fails to incorporate group projects as core functionality and encourages an individualized experience. Although CodeHS does support pair-programming — it remains as a one-way communication channel whereby a student would share a URL to either see how another student’s code runs, and they can choose whether to reveal the code or not. The other student can only provide feedback but not directly change or comment on a particular piece of code.
A lot of students learning remotely this year have trouble making meaningful connections with their classmates. It is an issue we see across the board from K-12 to university-level schools. A way to improve the student’s learning experience is to advocate for collaborative virtual learning environments with fun activities. The Coding Rooms platform can handle a wide array of activities such as hackathons, group projects, and coding competitions. Therefore, whether it’s inside the classroom for group activities or outside the classroom for school-wide hackathons or competitions — Coding Rooms provides a safe and interactive online environment for students to form meaningful relationships with their peers.
3. Targeted Content
Most of CodeHS content is geared towards middle school or high school curriculums and they are structured to be delivered by their key curriculum pathways: K-12, Grade 6–12, High School, and Middle School. Although they offer a good selection of products, teachers must buy into their curriculum before considering using their platform. CodeHS in this case is a curriculum that comes with using their IDE/platform to teach and, similar to zyBooks, their curriculum is their key feature. Therefore, if you would like a platform to teach but do not have a need for their curriculum — CodeHS may not be the best option for you.
On the other hand, Coding Rooms can allow teachers to build their own curriculums and even import their Repl.it classrooms onto the platform. Coding Rooms is a platform and a tool to enable teachers to teach effectively, without including costs for a specialized curriculum that may not be what teachers want or need. This means that college professors, freelancers, and even tutors can use it as a tool outside of purely using it to teach a particular curriculum. However, this is not to say curriculum building or sharing would not be a potential future feature release— but the core of Coding Rooms is that it will always remain as a tool for teachers with one key value proposition in helping teachers to teach programming more effectively and efficiently.
All in all, CodeHS is a well-thought-out product in offering its easy to handle curriculums for the average K-12 CS teacher who may need a baseline curriculum to shape their classes. On the other hand, Coding Rooms is more so a tool for teachers to teach programming effectively. Depending on the needs of the teacher and how hands-on the teacher wants to customize their personal curriculum, Coding Rooms may fit more use cases for a broad spectrum of computer science teaching needs based on its platform features.
For the full specification comparison, check out: https://codingrooms.com/alternatives/codehs-vs-coding-rooms/
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Coding Rooms is a real-time platform for teaching programming online that allows teachers to engage with students’ code instantly. Our video conferencing, assessments, and auto-grading enable teachers to easily monitor and track student progress.
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