Review: Code Avengers

Code Avengers is a website which aims to help teach Javascript (and soon HTML) to students. Designed by Michael Walmsley, Code Avengers is aimed at GCSE level students at was initially designed to cover the New Zealand curriculum.

The first thing you will notice is that the format is very similar to the popular Codecademy. However, Code Avengers does go out of its way to make the format more fun and interactive for young users including a number of graphical exercises and the odd game break after you complete certain levels.

The lessons are well structured and slowly introduce the programmer to basic maths followed by variables and prompts. There are also a number of questions which are useful to check the learners understanding. I particularly liked Lesson 9 which checked how strings and variables are handled. Compared to Codecademy I found Code Avengers to have a friendlier approach and it also went over a number of points a few times meaning that it is more likely to be understood by students. The idea that they can seek help, but it will cost them points is also nice. Not only will it cause a good competitive nature between students, but it will give you an idea as a teacher which students are struggling and which are flying.

My time spent on Code Avengers was very positive, but I did find a couple of features slightly frustrating. A few of the maths modules forced the programmer to work out the maths in their head before outputting the result in a message box. I understand that it is making the point that programmers shouldn’t just rely on the computer, but at the same time is this really needed in a Javascript programming course? I found it broke away from programming – which was why I was there, but I can see the argument that it is important that programmers understand how Javascript handles arithmetic. Some of the questions are also a little confusing – maths 4.4 being a prime example where it isn’t clear that you have to convert the answer from billion $ to $ unless you read very carefully and pick it up in the extra info.

So far I have only completed up to level 10, but I can certainly recommend this to teachers who are teaching Javascript at GCSE level. It would be an excellent homework resource where students could get a second explanation for any content covered in class. The more fun approach that Code Avengers adopts is certainly more likely to appeal to younger students who find Codecademy just a little too complex. Once Code Avengers starts supporting other languages, I would certainly consider raising it to a 5* resource.

Rating: ★★★★½ 

GCSE Resources

  1. Thanks for the post and feedback… Incidentally, I have refined lesson 4 and other lessons that were a little unclear.

    I also have HTML/CSS lessons I will be releasing shortly.

    As far as the Math lesson 3 goes, I added this in, because I found many of my testers were struggling with any lessons that involved calculations because they had forgotten the basic math rules. By doing this little revision people had a much easier time with other lessons that involved simple calculations.

    Incidentally, my 9 year old brother had no problems with the math… however my 21 year old brother struggled a bit (having been out of school for 3 years)!

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