EasyCode Pillars

EasyCode Pillars FAQ

What is EasyCode Pillars?

EasyCode Pillars is a plug-in that extends the coding curriculum in EasyTech. EasyCode Pillars (powered by Codesters) introduces the Python programming language through a series of structured, scaffolded, interactive lessons. In each self-paced lesson, students are guided through a series of small activities that lead them to three potential exit points. In the last exit point of each lesson, students create their own project, allowing for voice and choice. All activities within the lesson are automatically graded up until the final project. Scoring rubrics for the final projects are included along with full lesson plans, making it possible for any educator to teach computer science and basic coding principles – even without previous coding experience.

What are the target grade levels for EasyCode  Pillars?

EasyCode Pillars is recommended for grades 5-8, but can be used in early high school as part of an introduction to programming course.

What coding topics are covered in EasyCode Pillars?

EasyCode Pillars covers the following topics while practicing debugging, problem-solving, computational thinking, and understanding algorithms:

Intro to Codesters*Intro to Python - Part 1Intro to Python - Part 2Intro to Game Design
• The Stage
• Background Images
• Sprite Motions and Actions
• Shapes and Drawings
• Click Events
• Keyboard Events
• Variables
• Loops
• If-Statements
• Lists
• Functions
• Events
• Functions
• Indexes
• Events
• Data Types
• Program Design
• Game Mechanics
• Taking Turns
• Moving Objects
• Collisions
• Random Numbers
• Avoiding Hazards
• Getting Points

 

* Intro to Codesters is included in EasyTech’s Computational Thinking unit

What programming language will students learn in EasyCode Pillars?

EasyCode Pillars teaches Python, which is commonly used by businesses as a general-use programming language.

Do teachers need coding experience to use EasyCode Pillars?

No, teachers do not need previous experience with Computer Science or coding to help students learn the concepts. The lesson plans include detailed walk-throughs  to help teachers step students through understanding each concept. The platform auto grades most activities in each lesson and includes both solutions and examples. A rubric is also provided to help teachers evaluate the projects assigned at the end of each lesson.

How do teachers and students access EasyCode Pillars?

Teachers access their EasyCode Pillars dashboard by clicking on an EasyCode Pillars lesson title in a class list or in the Library and selecting the ‘View’ button beneath the lesson description. This will open an interactive ‘student view’ of EasyCode Pillars. To enter the teacher dashboard, click ‘Exit Student Mode’ in the upper right corner of the screen.

Once EasyCode Pillars has been assigned, students access the lessons by selecting the lesson name in their assignment list. This takes the student to the student dashboard where they can view and interact with any EasyCode Pillars lesson to which the teacher has allowed access (see “Can teachers limit access to specific lessons?” for more details).

Where can I find the teacher lesson plans?

EasyCode Pillars lesson plans can be found in the Learning.com Library by selecting the desired lesson title and clicking the ‘Lesson Plan’ button on the lesson detail page.

Where can I see my students’ EasyCode Pillars grades?

Grades can be found by navigating to your EasyCode Pillars teacher dashboard, selecting the ‘Classes’ tab on the left side of your screen, and choosing ‘Manage Class’ next to the class whose gradebook you’d like to view. ‘Manage Class’ will bring you to the Codesters gradebook where you can see your students’ EasyCode Pillars scores and navigate between the different modules (‘Intro to Codesters,’ ‘Intro to Python – Part 1,’ and ‘Intro to Python – Part 2’).

Please note that scores do not pass between the Codesters gradebook and Learning.com’s gradebook. A scoring rubric is provided for teachers to evaluate final projects. Teachers may manually enter that score in the Learning.com gradebook if desired.

Does EasyCode Pillars work on tablets?

Yes, EasyCode Pillars can be used on a tablet device.

Please note that we do recommend using an external keyboard when accessing Learning.com on a tablet.

Is EasyCode Pillars interoperable with other Learning Management Systems (LMS)?

Yes, EasyCode Pillars is interoperable with any LMS that has interoperability support for LTI links from the Learning.com platform.

Can customers reallocate licenses when a student finishes the course?

EasyCode Pillars licenses are consumed just like EasyTech licenses, meaning they cannot be shared between students. However, licenses can be provisioned for an entire school building (rather than by individual students) and would cover all students in that building who have a Learning.com account.

What teacher tools are available with EasyCode Pillars?

In addition to the lesson plans you’ll find in your lesson detail page in the Learning.com library, EasyCode Pillars comes with other resources such as scope and sequence documents, activity rubrics, answer keys, and project planners! Find these by going to your EasyCode Pillars teacher dashboard, opening your Classes tab, select Manage Class, and clicking Lesson Plans.

Classes are also automatically created in the Codesters platform to mirror how they look in Learning.com and can be viewed in the teacher’s EasyCode Pillars dashboard. Here, the teacher can track student progress in real time and easily view their submitted code and projects. which can be used to compare students’ work to the correct solutions.

As always, Learning.com’s Customer Support team is happy to help ensure teachers and administrators have answers to all their questions.

How many lessons are in EasyCode Pillars?

EasyCode Pillars includes 55 lessons, each of which are typically meant to take 90 minutes. The break down by mini-course is as follows:

Intro to Codesters*5 lessons
Intro to Python: Part 120 lessons
Intro to Python: Part 220 lessons
Intro to Game Design**10 lessons

 

* Intro to Codesters is included in EasyTech’s Computational Thinking unit

**Intro to Game Design is to be completed after Python 1 and can be done concurrently with Python 2.

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

EasyCode Pillars accounts for over 82 hours of instructional time or over 109 class periods. Lessons are approximately 90 minutes in length.

By mini-course, the instructional hours are as follows:

Intro to Codesters7 hours
Intro to Python - Part 130 hours
Intro to Python - Part 230 hours
Intro to Game Design15 hours

 

The Coding Pillars Bundle includes an additional 8.5 hours of content for Computational Thinking.

In what languages is EasyCode Pillars available?

EasyCode Pillars is currently available in English, Spanish, and Simplified Chinese. Please note that assignment instructions and headers will translate into one of these three languages, but the Toolkit, Support tab, and Code Editor will remain in English.

Can teachers limit access to specific lessons?

Yes. To restrict access to any lesson, teachers can log in to Learning.com and click on any of the EasyCode Pillar lesson names to take them to their teacher dashboard; they should then navigate to the gradebook of the class within which they would like to limit access. To remove access to a lesson, they can uncheck the checkbox at the top of that lesson. To re-enable access, check that same box.

 

How long will students have access to the projects they create in Pillars?

Students will have access to the work they complete in class, including capstone projects and any projects they create on their own, for as long as their account remains active. Students will essentially have a portfolio of their work that they can copy or print out; each project has a unique URL so they can share projects or include them in a digital portfolio.

What should teachers and/or students do if they have a question while working on a project?

Click on the ‘Support’ tab in the lower left-hand corner of the screen.

Questions submitted from a teacher account will be sent to Learning.com’s Customer Support email address.

Questions submitted from a student account will be emailed to the teacher. Students are required to enter an email address, but they can enter the teacher’s email if the student does not have one.