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Coding is Good Review

Math and Coding

Anika Cheerla and her team from MathAndCoding are on a mission to teach everyone how to code, from kids to skeptical adults. Since 2014, they’ve given workshops in public libraries and community centres across the San Francisco Bay Area, including lessons in Java, Arduino fundamentals, and robotics.

As a new initiative, Cheerla developed an iOS app to teach people how to program in Python. Coding is Good starts at square one, covering concepts such as variables and value assignment and guiding users all the way through loops and functions. The app splits its material into small, quick lessons that are easy to finish on the bus or while waiting for class to start. It also offers quizzes to review concepts and drill down into the details of the language.

Although lessons have an interactive element, writing and running Python code requires upgrading to a paid version of the app (currently $4.99 USD). Instead, most quizzes have a multiple choice or a “fill in the blank” format.

There’s a lot to love about Coding is Good. All of its lesson are illustrated by real-life examples crafted to be accessible to both kids and adults: calculating the profits of a lemonade stand, checking bank balances, computing grade scores. The quiz questions are also quite thorough. Even a seasoned programmer might forget whether or not its possible to assign a value to the “int” keyword in Python!

The best feature, however, is probably the instant feedback. After every question, Coding is Good gives the user a detailed explanation of why they chose correctly or incorrectly. This is a huge asset in helping students remember what they’ve learned, and one of the features that makes the app stand out.

On the downside, lessons don’t include diagrams or pictures for visual learners. While explanations are concise and well thought-out, the lack of images somewhat limits the potential audience.

The fact that the Python interpreter is behind a paywall is also somewhat regrettable. Writing code yourself is the best way to learn how to program and the easiest way to master a language’s syntax. Multiple-choice questions can’t quite substitute for getting your hands on a keyboard.

On the other hand, typing out long programs on a phone may not be the most productive activity, either. So without access to a bluetooth keyboard, it’s debatable how useful the free Python interpreter would actually be.

Coding Is Good may not be a complete replacement for learning at a computer, but instead it offers the flexibility of being able to practice anywhere, anytime. Brief lessons make for perfect for on-the-go learning. Consistent feedback helps the information stick and helps concepts become less intimidating. Overall, the easy-to-understand lessons, interactive recaps, and numerous quizzes make Coding Is Good is a great app for people who are new to programming or those who want to touch up on the basics.

You can learn more about Cheerla, MathAndCoding, and the team’s other initiatives here.

To download the app on iOS, check out https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/coding-is-good/id1354430214?platform=iphone&preserveScrollPosition=true#platform/iphone

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Coding Is Good iOS App


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