current learning path here


current learning path here
Coral Reef Coders – Coral Reef Elementary School – Miami, Florida
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Over the course of establishing Coral Reef Coders in the spring of 2015, many lessons were
learned as to how to assist students to gain a basic understanding of computer programming as
well as provide them with a path forward to develop real-world skills.
Those lessons-learned provide the basis of this document that will, I hope, allow many others to
gain the same understanding and introduction to computer programming (aka. “coding”)
without requiring membership in Coral Reef Coders.
Furthermore, this document provides suggested resources and pathways that go beyond what
was covered during the first attempt at starting a coding group at Coral Reef Elementary.
However, as was demonstrated by the members of Coral Reef Coders, there are many
resources and learning plans available aside from anything shown here.
The resources and path outlined here provides a suggested way to begin learning computer
programming. Yet, much like learning to write does not automatically provide one with the
paper and pencil to write, this document does not provide everything required to create a
functional computer program.
Finally, Coral Reef Coders was established primarily as a way for students to begin a process of
self-directed learning. All or most of the learning outlined in this document is meant to be done
on an individual or pair basis. The reason for this was to allow students to learn on their own, at
their own pace, and beyond the school day or even the school year. The resources suggested
here are designed to engage beginners in entertaining ways. Yet, becoming successful at
anything requires some level of individual direction and motivation. Learning to code is no
Coral Reef Coders – Coral Reef Elementary School – Miami, Florida
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There are a multitude of platforms, compilers and interfaces all which serve the singular purpose
of having machines do work for people. Yet, even the most powerful computers require very
specific instructions to perform the most basic tasks. To a computer, these instructions are only
understandable as a series of 1’s and 0’s which dictate how a computer should flip its’ billions of
microscopic switches on and off.
Over the past few decades, people created various ways to ease the task of translating
instructions from human language into something a computer can understand and ultimately
execute. Hence, dozens of different programming languages exist today that were created by
many different people for many different purposes and scenarios.
When a person decides to explore the world of computer programming, their enthusiasm is
usually extinguished by the bewildering and confusing number of programming languages
available. C, C++, C#, JavaScript, Java, Python, PHP can all be used to start programming, but
which one and why?
To eliminate this potential mess, Coral Reef Coders started with understanding the structure and
elements common to most computer programming languages. These commonalities can
provide a foundation to learning most programming languages in a much easier way. The
learning path offered in this document begins with the same commonalities and resources used
by Coral Reef Coders.
To further simplify, Coral Reef Coders focused on using learning resources that were available via
a web-browser with no fees for initial use.
Along this path additional resources such as books may be included for those who want to gain
a deeper understanding of an area.
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There are a few things that you need to have in order to follow this learning path:
1. Access to a computer that is connected to the internet with a standard web-browser
In many cases this could be a tablet or even a smart phone. In addition, the learning
resources here can be accessed via a shared computer such as one at a public library
or school.
2. An email account.
Many of the learning resources provide learning without requiring an email account.
However, in order to save your progress, save or share your creations, or provide proof of
course completion you must create an account. In most cases those accounts require
that you have access to an email account.
If you are a student in the Miami-Dade Public Schools, you are provided with an email
account that you can access both inside and outside school via a computer or mobile
device. Your email account address can be discovered via the student portal.
However, specific email instructions are outside the scope of this document. For more
information you should contact your teacher or school administrator.
3. The email address of a parent or guardian.
Most learning resources require the email approval from a parent or guardian in order to
establish an account for anyone under the age of thirteen. During the sign-up process
for most of the resources suggested here, a parent or guardian will need to receive and
respond to a request for an account before the student account will be fully activated.
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Website: is a website devoted to the absolute beginner. It contains self and teacher led lessons
for users beginning at the age of four. All of the lessons and teacher resources are provided at
no charge.
Learning Path Steps:
a. Course 1 – Although Course 1 is designed for pre-readers, it is the best way to
understand the basics. Link:
b. Course 2 Link:
c. Course 3 Link:
d. Course 4 Link:
An overview of the lessons shown above can be achieved via the Hour of Code lesson ( ) However, Courses 1 – 4 will provide a better starting point for a
beginner and establish a better foundation of understanding.
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Scratch is a block-type programming tool provided by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
(MIT). Scratch is similar to the interface used by but allows more complex operations
and controls. Scratch allows students to create their own games and interactive content. It also
allows students to examine creations from other members of the Scratch community to see how
they work and even make their own adaptations.
Scratch isn’t structured around lessons but rather around exploration and experimentation.
Therefore, Scratch should be used as more of a laboratory for students on this learning path.
The Help section of Scratch contains complete guides as well as resources for parents and
Learning Path Steps:
a. Students should begin within the Create area of the website
( )
b. Students should locate the Getting Started with Scratch interactive tutorial on the right
side of the screen in the Create area. This will allow students to build a basic application
while following along with the example.
c. After exploring the Create area of Scratch, students may be interested in the Explore
area of Scratch where other users have shared their own creations. ( )
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Khan Academy offers over 2400 free lessons and videos covering a wide range of subjects
including Computer Science. Khan Academy represents the progression from block-style
programming to traditional text based programming.
Khan Academy is primarily focused on the individual student, but contains lessons as well as
teacher/coach resources and controls.
Khan Academy teaches using JavaScript, HTML, CSS, and SQL. These programming languages
form the basis of the operations of modern websites and the internet.
Learning Path Steps:
All of the Khan Academy lessons are contained in the Computer Programming section.
a. Intro to JS: Drawing & Animation -
b. Advanced JS: Games & Visualizations
c. Advanced JS: Natural Simulations
d. HTML/CSS: Making webpages -
e. HTML/JS: Making webpages interactive
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Intro to SQL: Querying and managing databases
g. Meet the Professional -
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By this point in the learning path, students will be ready to take their knowledge and skill into the
“real world” of computer programming. There are many different resources to continue their
education in a more individualized manner. Some students may enjoy developing webapplications whereas others may be more drawn to gaming or robotics. Regardless of the area
of interest there are free and low-cost resources available to students and teachers of all ages.
Head First Java -
JavaScript for Kids -
Getting Started with Raspberry Pi: Electronic Projects with the Low-Cost Pocket-Sized
Computer -
Head First JavaScript Programming -
Head First HTML and CSS -
Absolute Beginner’s Guide To Minecraft Mods Programming
Codecademy -
Code Combat -
Webmaker -
The Java Tutorials -
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