CoderZ is an online robotics coding platform that helps youth learn coding skills, problem solving, computational thinking and other fundamental computer science skills in a fun, “gamified” environment. It can readily be done in classrooms, 4-H clubs and afterschool, and since it’s online, CoderZ is ideally suited to at home learning. Participating requires no prior coding experience by teachers, leaders or youth and CoderZ features four courses that allow youth from 9 – 18 to solve robot missions using computer code. This resource is for 4-H leaders, afterschool professionals and teachers to help them get their youth started coding in CoderZ. Amazon Future Engineer has been made CoderZ free for teachers, students, schools and 4-H affected by COVID-19.
Getting Started with CoderZ
Note: CoderZ is optimized to run in the Google Chrome browser.
Create a CoderZ Teachers account (suitable for 4-H Leaders)
Click the “Class” button and enter your information, you will receive an email with information to activate your account. If you are a 4-H Leader select New Hampshire 4-H as your school. Once you start your account you can invite youth into your class or 4-H club. Youth can also sign up this way by clicking the “student” button.
As a teacher or 4-H leader you can set up virtual “classrooms” to group your youth and track their progress. Steps for setting up a class and inviting youth can be found on the First Steps with CoderZ page of the CoderZ website.
No Prior Coding Experience Needed
You do not need to know how to code to help youth learn with CoderZ. The courses and missions are designed to lead you through each mission with clear instructions, tips and hints and plenty of support resources.
Complete Teachers Guides with lessons, hints and directions are available for download when you are logged into your CoderZ account. They can be found under the “Learning Center/ My Courses” and clicking the “Teachers Guide” link on the course you are teaching.
The CoderZ Knowledge Base is also a great resource to answer questions about working in CoderZ.
Solutions to each Mission are available to teachers by clicking the down arrow at the top of the screen.
4-H Meeting or Class Format
Supporting youth, both in the context of CoderZ, but also within the challenges of social distancing and learning at home, is very important. Setting up virtual meetings and establishing ways to communicate with youth will help them when they get stuck and also contribute to their sense of belonging. The Extension Blog post on Creating Belonging on a Virtual Meeting has some good suggestions and resources for running online meetings. Using email or creating email groups to communicate with youth is also important, it can provide a way for youth to ask questions of adults and peers. Email groups such as groups.io (https://groups.io) can be an easy way to email with club youth and their parents regarding their experiences in CoderZ.
There is a NH 4-H CoderZ email group for 4-H members and leaders that can be subscribed to by sending an email to NH4HCoderZemail@example.com. This is a private group to post and respond to questions and share experiences for New Hampshire 4-H Youth and Leaders.
If you have any questions about using CoderZ in 4-H, either as a leader or member, please feel free to contact Claes Thelemarck at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or view the recording of the Coder Z - Online Virtual 4-H Robotics Workshop.
May the Code Be with You.