Product Updates: March through May 2020

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Here are the latest updates we've made across the Code.org website and platform! Updates from previous months can be found at the bottom of this article!

Platform

We launched Code Break! In light of school closures worldwide and tens of millions of students at home, we launched a weekly one-hour interactive coding session called Code Break! Each week's episode has special guests helping us with interactive lessons and demonstrations, to build the world's largest live interactive classroom to engage students of all abilities, even those without computers. Visit code.org/break for more info, and to see past weeks' recordings and associated lessons. 

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Lesson extras  - We improved the Lesson Extras selection screen to be cleaner and allow cycling through challenge options! (Read more about lesson extras here )

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Help Menu improvement - items in the Help menu now open in a new window, so students aren’t navigated away from their code when they want to report an issue or look for help.

Parent / student account linking - Parents can now link their email address to their child’s account when signing up for the first time! We also added the ability for parents/guardians to add their email address to their child’s account through the account settings page. Right now, an added parent/guardian email provides a couple of benefits to the student. It helps parents and students retain ownership of the student account and work over time, even if a teacher were to disband a section, and it allows parents to request a password reset for a student who either does not have a personal email or cannot access their personal email. 

Celebrate -  the certificate page now includes confetti! Hooray!

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New Artist brushes: we added lots of new brushes in Artist projects for more creativity and joy!

Mobile improvements - Videos now resize to fit as much of the screen as possible, making them usable on phones! Videos previously would not scale properly, or were difficult to view or close. Our new setup takes full advantage of whatever screen real estate is available:

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When on iOS, it’s possible to hide the toolbar but it previously required input from the user. There is now a tooltip that will pop up to tell the student how to do it:

If you are on iOS and get too far zoomed-in, it was hard to get out of. There is now a simple pop-up to help you get out of being zoomed in!

Swipe overlay: We’ve supported swipe and touch actions on most of our levels for a long time. Now we display an overlay with arrows so you'll know what’s possible!

 

 

Videos

How Teamwork Works with the Minecraft Team

Teamwork - Dealing with Disagreements

Code Break Intro Video

Learn to Code at Home Video

New EIPM Video series (Explore, Investigate, Practice, Make)

Teacher Dashboard & Support for At-home Learning

Improvements to Manage Students tab:

  • it's now possible to access the "Edit Section Details" screen for changing course assignments or renaming your section, while staying in the Manage Students tab.
  • You can also change over to other sections from this tab as well!
  • The "Print Login Card" and "Download Parent Letter" features are now buttons at the top of this tab
  • The section code is more prominently displayed for easy reference, clicking on the section code copies the section join link to the teacher’s clipboard for easy-sharing with their students:

The bottom portion of the Manage Students tab was reorganized so it’s clearer what steps to take based on the section’s login type to (1) set up a class; (2) get your students signed in; and (3) connect with parents:

CS Fundamentals CSTA Standards View - teachers can now easily see their class’s progress on lessons that accrue to the Computer Science Teachers’ Association’s (CSTA) K-5 Standards. The Standards Progress View can be found on the Progress Tab of the Teacher Dashboard and it allows teachers to easily:

  1. See which CSTA Standards a given CSF course meets, and which lessons in that course should be completed to teach a specific standard.

  2. See which lessons the class has completed that map to a given CSTA Standard. The Standards Progress View will automatically report completion status on “plugged” or online lessons, and teachers can self-report progress on “unplugged” or offline lessons. 

  3. Create a PDF or printed version of the Standards view that can be shared with administrators, teachers, or parents

Parent letter - Teachers can now easily create a PDF letter for a section of students that they can send to students' parents! The letter includes information about:

  1. Code.org and why learning computer science is important

  2. How parents can support students while they are at home

  3. How students can sign in to Code.org while at home

  4. Code.org's privacy policy

There are two versions of this letter:

  1. A version for the entire section: This version can be sent to the parent of any student in the section. It does not include individual student login credentials (username and password).

  1. Student-specific version: This version that should only be sent to the parent of a specific student in the section because the letter contains that individual student's login credentials. This version is only available for sections that use secret words or picture passwords to sign in.

New timestamp offering in Progress tab - Teachers can hover over the name of their student on the Progress Tab of the Teacher Dashboard, and see the last time that student made progress (i.e. completed a level) in the currently selected course or unit! 

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Single login cards - Teachers can now print a single login card for an individual student in their class!

App Lab, Game Lab, and Web Lab

Updated Data tab in App Lab: we added several real-world datasets into App Lab for students to pull data from into their apps! Such as datasets on US Presidents, Planets, Sports, Music, and so much more! Read more about how to use Datasets in App Lab here. 

 

QR Codes - we added the ability to share your project via QR code!

Sprite Library in Game Lab and Sprite Lab no longer uses a Pages setup, but instead just scrolls up and down on one page!

Before:

After:

App Lab theme picker now has a preview of what the color scheme looks like!

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Switch statements are now supported in App Lab! 

 

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New Artist angle picker - It's now easier to understand how an angle will affect your Artist character, from any starting angle!

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Miscellaneous improvements: 

  • Code is now always editable, regardless of whether or not your code is already running!
  • Sprite Lab's “Create a Behavior” button no longer overlaps rest of the controls when scrolling through them
  • The mouse event blocks in AppLab now also respond to touch events, so students can write apps that respond to touch in all cases!
  • In App Lab, images are now sorted by most recent at the top, so newest image doesn’t get easily lost when it’s added.
  • AppLab dropdown design elements were occasionally broken in Firefox, and are now fixed!  

Previous product updates can be found here:

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