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Coding at SteamChamps

What is SteamChamps?

We’re a coding school for kids that teaches our students using a customized curriculum in a semi-private setting. We don’t believe in one-size-fits-all curriculums, and we don’t believe in software programs doing the teaching. Instead, our core program pairs each student with an expert coder called a Code Coach in a 2:1 lesson to guide them on a custom journey, unique to the student. As any real developer will tell you, there’s no better way to learn a new language or platform than by coding something with it. That’s how we teach too – learn by doing, but with expert guidance.

What's your personality?

Well THAT’s a weird question to ask a school! But we do have a personality! Founded and run by a couple of down to earth guys, we’re a down to earth school. We’re not all about the profits, we’re all about helping our communities and kids learn to code. We’re parents ourselves and we’re here to do you right. We’ve been at this for over 6 years, with over 50 locations, over 4500 students, over 750 staff, and lots of happy parents and kids. We’re internationally published authors with 2 books on kids coding, and we even have a video teaching series we call our AppStream. That’s a lot of fluff, so what’s REALLY our personality? It’s Code Coaching – so read on!

Who are your Code Coaches?

SteamChamps employs over 700 Code Coaches all around the country, ranging from veterans from the software industry to CS majors at prestigious universities. Our Code Coaches aren’t formal teachers, but rather passionate coders that are excited about helping kids learn to code. While we do have a Google or Netflix employee or two working at our schools, we shouldn’t always assume they’re the best coach for every student! Chemistry of the relationship is so much more important, and all our coaches are vetted with wide-ranging real-life coding skills and trained in theCoderSchool’s philosophy and methodology. Come by a location to meet a Code Coach today!

What makes you different than other coding schools?

Our coaches! Think about how you would want to learn a new skill. Would you want to take a static online course? Listen to the same lecture class as hundreds of others? Or, would you rather sit down next to an expert mentor who can guide you on your own personal journey? Setting up thousands of 2:1 lessons across the country with hundreds of coaches is a challenging process and might take a little more effort than just sitting your child in front of a computer and letting them find their own way. But in our opinion, it’s all worth the quality learning experience!

Why Use a 2:1 Ratio?

After over 6 years of teaching, we’ve found the best ratio is 2:1. Not only does each student get some very focused attention, it allows kids to learn and build off of each other in a more social format. While we also offer private lessons, a paired format adds that collaborative angle where there’s sharing, idea bouncing, and even the occasional showing off!

Our Curriculum

What curriculum do you use?

We don’t believe in a one-size fits all curriculum, but rather use a dynamic way of teaching with many curriculums. Our philosophy is that the best way to learn to code is to do it the same way real developers do it – code something! Rather than mindless exercises or memorizing syntax, kids build custom apps with guidance from their Code Coach. From websites to games, from data utilities to network applications, what our kids code differs from student to student. Instead of a one-size fits all curriculum, our students code apps that are meant to engage them specifically, based on their interests and skill levels. After all, if kids don’t want to learn, they’re not going to learn!

How do I see weekly progress?

Each week, our coaches write structured notes in our proprietary Notes+ system. This system tracks language(s), concepts, homework, and other important session information to track everything learned while building their own custom app. Parents are emailed the notes after each session with a link to our Coder Progress page. Our proprietary Coder Progress page shows a complete summary of progress over time, giving parents an easy way to track progression, concepts learned, and languages used.In addition to weekly Notes+ progress, students also receive App Reviews every 3-5 months. While Notes+ represents cumulative progress at theCoderSchool, an App Review is a point in time assessment of the student’s skill level. Each App Review combines assessments of a student’s levels in over 30 skill areas, a general freeform assessment, and the uploading of their latest app to our App Gallery. App Reviews also come with a graphical representation of their skillset in the form of a Coder Tree! Take a look at a sample App Review screenshot to the right. Many locations also time App Reviews with Coder Fairs, a chance for students to show and discuss their app in front of an audience and get it judged in a science-fair style competition!

What languages do you teach?

All kinds! If our coaches know the language, we can teach it. Deep down though, we believe language isn’t important – instead it’s about underlying logic and technical structure. While our beginners are focused on logical analysis, our intermediate to advanced coders are learning about higher level concepts like 3D, AI, data analysis or any of a number of expert concepts. While some languages are better suited for different concepts, most concepts can be taught in a large variety of languages.All that said, we do have a general progression. Most beginners gravitate towards Scratch because it’s so graphical and easy to learn logic without needing to type. Middle school and older kids tend to be taught in either Python or Javascript, and could learn new concepts on a single language literally forever. Or, they could try other languages like Java, C++, Scheme, Go, whatever! But in the end, remember, it’s not about what languages you know – it’s about what you can do with them!

What platforms do you use to teach?

The best platform is the one that your child gets engaged with most! While every child is different in some ways, we’ve also found some common ground and typical ones they like. Some of the ones we use include Scratch from MIT, trinket.io, pixelpad.io, codepen, repl.it, Xcode, Eclipse, and many many more. We don’t use a proprietary platform because there’s so many out there already, free! The idea is each child learns differently, so we want to use the experience of our Code Coaches and their relationship with each student to find the right platform that best fits the student they are working with!

Do students have access to code in between lessons?

Yep, they sure do! Once an hour per week isn’t a lot of practice, so we encourage our kids, especially intermediate to advanced kids, to code in between. Most of our platforms are online, and can be accessed from anywhere with internet. Advanced coders will be asked to bring and use their own laptop which they can bring home to continue coding.

Our Programs

What curriculum do you use?

We don’t believe in a one-size fits all curriculum, but rather use a dynamic way of teaching with many curriculums. Our philosophy is that the best way to learn to code is to do it the same way real developers do it – code something! Rather than mindless exercises or memorizing syntax, kids build custom apps with guidance from their Code Coach. From websites to games, from data utilities to network applications, what our kids code differs from student to student. Instead of a one-size fits all curriculum, our students code apps that are meant to engage them specifically, based on their interests and skill levels. After all, if kids don’t want to learn, they’re not going to learn!

How do I see weekly progress?

Each week, our coaches write structured notes in our proprietary Notes+ system. This system tracks language(s), concepts, homework, and other important session information to track everything learned while building their own custom app. Parents are emailed the notes after each session with a link to our Coder Progress page. Our proprietary Coder Progress page shows a complete summary of progress over time, giving parents an easy way to track progression, concepts learned, and languages used.In addition to weekly Notes+ progress, students also receive App Reviews every 3-5 months. While Notes+ represents cumulative progress at theCoderSchool, an App Review is a point in time assessment of the student’s skill level. Each App Review combines assessments of a student’s levels in over 30 skill areas, a general freeform assessment, and the uploading of their latest app to our App Gallery. App Reviews also come with a graphical representation of their skillset in the form of a Coder Tree! Take a look at a sample App Review screenshot to the right. Many locations also time App Reviews with Coder Fairs, a chance for students to show and discuss their app in front of an audience and get it judged in a science-fair style competition!

What languages do you teach?

All kinds! If our coaches know the language, we can teach it. Deep down though, we believe language isn’t important – instead it’s about underlying logic and technical structure. While our beginners are focused on logical analysis, our intermediate to advanced coders are learning about higher level concepts like 3D, AI, data analysis or any of a number of expert concepts. While some languages are better suited for different concepts, most concepts can be taught in a large variety of languages.All that said, we do have a general progression. Most beginners gravitate towards Scratch because it’s so graphical and easy to learn logic without needing to type. Middle school and older kids tend to be taught in either Python or Javascript, and could learn new concepts on a single language literally forever. Or, they could try other languages like Java, C++, Scheme, Go, whatever! But in the end, remember, it’s not about what languages you know – it’s about what you can do with them!

What platforms do you use to teach?

The best platform is the one that your child gets engaged with most! While every child is different in some ways, we’ve also found some common ground and typical ones they like. Some of the ones we use include Scratch from MIT, trinket.io, pixelpad.io, codepen, repl.it, Xcode, Eclipse, and many many more. We don’t use a proprietary platform because there’s so many out there already, free! The idea is each child learns differently, so we want to use the experience of our Code Coaches and their relationship with each student to find the right platform that best fits the student they are working with!

Do students have access to code in between lessons?

Yep, they sure do! Once an hour per week isn’t a lot of practice, so we encourage our kids, especially intermediate to advanced kids, to code in between. Most of our platforms are online, and can be accessed from anywhere with internet. Advanced coders will be asked to bring and use their own laptop which they can bring home to continue coding.

Signing Up

What curriculum do you use?

We don’t believe in a one-size fits all curriculum, but rather use a dynamic way of teaching with many curriculums. Our philosophy is that the best way to learn to code is to do it the same way real developers do it – code something! Rather than mindless exercises or memorizing syntax, kids build custom apps with guidance from their Code Coach. From websites to games, from data utilities to network applications, what our kids code differs from student to student. Instead of a one-size fits all curriculum, our students code apps that are meant to engage them specifically, based on their interests and skill levels. After all, if kids don’t want to learn, they’re not going to learn!

How do I see weekly progress?

Each week, our coaches write structured notes in our proprietary Notes+ system. This system tracks language(s), concepts, homework, and other important session information to track everything learned while building their own custom app. Parents are emailed the notes after each session with a link to our Coder Progress page. Our proprietary Coder Progress page shows a complete summary of progress over time, giving parents an easy way to track progression, concepts learned, and languages used.In addition to weekly Notes+ progress, students also receive App Reviews every 3-5 months. While Notes+ represents cumulative progress at theCoderSchool, an App Review is a point in time assessment of the student’s skill level. Each App Review combines assessments of a student’s levels in over 30 skill areas, a general freeform assessment, and the uploading of their latest app to our App Gallery. App Reviews also come with a graphical representation of their skillset in the form of a Coder Tree! Take a look at a sample App Review screenshot to the right. Many locations also time App Reviews with Coder Fairs, a chance for students to show and discuss their app in front of an audience and get it judged in a science-fair style competition!

What languages do you teach?

All kinds! If our coaches know the language, we can teach it. Deep down though, we believe language isn’t important – instead it’s about underlying logic and technical structure. While our beginners are focused on logical analysis, our intermediate to advanced coders are learning about higher level concepts like 3D, AI, data analysis or any of a number of expert concepts. While some languages are better suited for different concepts, most concepts can be taught in a large variety of languages.All that said, we do have a general progression. Most beginners gravitate towards Scratch because it’s so graphical and easy to learn logic without needing to type. Middle school and older kids tend to be taught in either Python or Javascript, and could learn new concepts on a single language literally forever. Or, they could try other languages like Java, C++, Scheme, Go, whatever! But in the end, remember, it’s not about what languages you know – it’s about what you can do with them!

What platforms do you use to teach?

The best platform is the one that your child gets engaged with most! While every child is different in some ways, we’ve also found some common ground and typical ones they like. Some of the ones we use include Scratch from MIT, trinket.io, pixelpad.io, codepen, repl.it, Xcode, Eclipse, and many many more. We don’t use a proprietary platform because there’s so many out there already, free! The idea is each child learns differently, so we want to use the experience of our Code Coaches and their relationship with each student to find the right platform that best fits the student they are working with!

Do students have access to code in between lessons?

Yep, they sure do! Once an hour per week isn’t a lot of practice, so we encourage our kids, especially intermediate to advanced kids, to code in between. Most of our platforms are online, and can be accessed from anywhere with internet. Advanced coders will be asked to bring and use their own laptop which they can bring home to continue coding.