EasyCode Foundations

EasyCode Foundations FAQ

The following are common questions about EasyCode Foundations.

General

What is EasyCode Foundations?

EasyCode Foundations is a plug-in to EasyTech that extends the curriculum of EasyTech into coding. EasyCode Foundations is an online game that teaches programming in a real programming language called CoffeeScript. It is self-paced and comes with fully structured lesson plans that make it easy for any teacher to teach computer science and basic coding principles – even with no previous coding experience. In EasyCode Foundations, students learn to code through a series of coding challenges. Teachers and students can even create their own challenges and share them with other students in their class. Once students have developed their coding skills through coding challenges, they can apply those skills by creating their own games in the included game development environment which can be shared with anyone.

What are the target grades for EasyCode Foundations?

EasyCode Foundations is best used in grade 3-5. However, it can be used as early as students can read independently. It can also be used into middle and even high school in order to introduce programming concepts but is not recommended for anything beyond just an introduction to program at higher middle school and high school grades.

What topics are covered in EasyCode Foundations?

EasyCode Foundations covers the following topics:

  • calling functions with and without arguments
  • sequencing code
  • debugging errors
  • using and defining methods and properties of objects
  • defining and using variables
  • using loops
  • accessing arrays
  • looping through arrays
  • using conditional statements and Boolean logic
  • defining functions from scratch with return values
  • using return values from functions
  • working with keyboard and mouse events

What programming language are students learning in EasyCode Foundations?

The programming language used in EasyCode Foundations is called CoffeeScript. It’s a language that compiles to JavaScript, and similar to JavaScript it is used in the industry primarily for web applications. The language was chosen because it has friendly syntax, which resembles the way we write in English, compared to other programming languages and can help students get comfortable with syntax without being too complex.

What technical requirements are required to run EasyCode Foundations?

If you are using EasyCode Foundations powered by CM on a desktop or laptop: The only thing you need is a relatively up-to date version of either Firefox, Chrome, Explorer or Safari, and an internet connection. If you are using EasyCode Foundations on a tablet: for best performance use a relatively new tablet (from that last two years) connected to the internet and access our website through the Chrome/Safari app.

Does EasyCode Foundations work on tablets?

Yes! EasyCode Foundations can be used on tablets.

Is EasyCode Foundations interoperable with other LMS’s?

Yes. EasyCode Foundations is interoperable with all other LMS’s that have interoperability support for LTI links from the Learning.com platform.

In what languages is CodeMonkey available?

The CodeMonkey portion of EasyCode Foundations (not Applications Exercise prompts) are available in 18 languages (with 2 variations of Spanish and Chinese).

Teaching

Do teachers need coding experience to teach with EasyCode Foundations?

No. Teachers need no previous experience with Computer Science or coding to help students learn the concepts. The lesson plans include detailed concept walk-throughs, answer keys and unplugged example activities to help the teacher step students through understanding each concept. The platform includes 3-star answers examples and for each coding challenge.

The curriculum comes also comes with a teacher mini-course to help the teacher become familiar with the platform, the structure of the lessons and the programming concepts. In the min-course, teachers watch a short video to learn the topics covered and then complete some of the student exercises. Finally, there is a short quiz to help teachers check their own understanding.

How do student and teachers access EasyTech Foundations?

Students and teachers can access ECF from their Learning.com account through single sign- on (LTI) links embedded in Application Exercises (AE).

Can teachers reallocate licenses when a student finishes the course?

No, EasyCode Foundations licenses are consumed just like EasyTech licenses.

What is the difference between story challenges and skill challenges?

Story challenges are the main progression of challenges on the map that provide the main instruction of the coding concepts. Each focuses on a specific coding topic or concept using a game to help the monkey catch bananas. The challenges increase in difficulty and complexity as the student progresses through the game’s story. Each challenge builds on the skills and knowledge the student has learned from previous challenges. As student complete certain assessment story challenges (indicated with a yellow circle in the teacher’s progress board), they unlock additional skill challenges. Skill challenges are used to strengthen the students’ understanding of the skills being taught in the story. To go to the skill challenges, click on the map icon, locate and click on the tab in the upper right corner of the map where it says “skill mode”.

What is Challenge Builder?

The Challenge Builder allows teachers and students to create their own coding challenges and share them with their students or classmates.

Where can I find the teacher lesson plans?

The teacher lesson plans can be accessed through a teacher’s Learning.com account. In the Library, navigate to the specific lesson’s detail page and click the lesson plan button.

What teacher tools are available with EasyCode Foundations?

Besides the lesson plans, EasyCode Foundations comes with several tools to make it easy to use with a class. Class setup is managed in the Learning.com platform and all classes and class rosters sync with the associated CodeMonkey account. Within the
teacher’s CodeMonkey account, there is a teacher dashboard where the teacher can keep track of student progress in real time. From the progress board, teachers can see the solutions their students submit for each challenge, access 3-star solutions for each challenge, set progress limits for the class and identify students that may need help determine 3-star solutions. Teachers can even create their own challenges for their students with the Challenge Builder. Lastly, we offer Learning.com’s incredible Customer Support team to ensure teachers and administrators have answers to all their questions.

How many lessons are in EasyCode Foundations?

EasyCode Foundations includes 45 lessons. The typical lesson is meant to take 45 minutes. The game itself has 201 story challenges and 201 skill challenges. There are also 3 additional mini-courses, each taking about an hour each that teach students the basics of creating their own games.

How much instructional time is included in EasyCode Foundations and in the Coding Foundations Bundle?

EasyCode Foundations accounts for over 40 hours of instructional time or over 50 class periods that are 45 minutes in length. The Coding Foundations Bundle includes over 56 hours of instructional time or about 75 45-minute class periods. (The Computational Thinking materials account for 16 hours of instructional time while the EasyCode Foundations materials account for 36 hours of instructional time.) In addition, EasyCode Foundations comes with a teacher mini-course (3 hours of instruction).

Are there any other resources available for teachers learn the fundamental concepts of programming and how to teach coding to their student using code monkey?

We have made it easy for any teacher to learn to teach coding. In addition to the detailed lesson plans, EasyCode Foundations comes a self-paced, interactive, online mini-course to help even the most novice teachers become comfortable with teaching basic coding principles. The course includes short instructional videos, coding challenge assignments to familiarize themselves with concepts taught as the students will experience them in the game and an interactive quiz to assess for understanding. By the end of the mini-course, teachers are ready to introduce these basic coding skills to their students and have fun with the students in the process.