Product Update Blog - December 2020 to February 2021

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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

Launched the Change the Face of CS Video & our Black History Month webpage:

Added even more songs for Dance Party!

  • Dua Lipa - "Don't Start Now"
  • Doja Cat - "Say So"
  • Jason Derulo - "Savage Love"
  • Lady Gaga ft. Ariana Grande - "Rain on Me"
  • Tones & I - "Dance Monkey"
  • Loreen - "Euphoria"
  • Indila - "Derniere Danse"
  • Master KG - "Jerusalema"

Reminder for students and teachers to sign-in before they start coding so their progress isn’t lost! We’ve received a lot of feedback (particularly while students were remote) that students sometimes forget to sign in before working on our courses that do not require sign-in (CSF, Courses 1-4, Hour of Code, etc.). This causes students to ‘lose their work’ and can lead to a lot of frustration and confusion in the classroom. To address this, we built a small warning pop-up that will appear approximately once a day when students start working on a level while signed out. It’s easily dismissable for students who are meant to be working while signed out or prefer to be signed out.

Promoted CSA in our Recommended Courses display on studio.code.org/courses, alongside the general CSA announcement. Teachers can now see that CSA is coming soon and access a link to learn more here: https://code.org/educate/csa 

Performance improvements in the Progress Tab of the Teacher Dashboard. Feedback has indicated that it can be difficult to scroll quickly left/right and up/down in the Progress view, leading to lag or slow load time. We recently made some changes to improve the scrolling performance in that view!

Accessibility

Teachers can now set Text-to-Speech (TTS) to automatically read lesson instructions to their students: Teachers can turn on a feature so that lesson instructions will be automatically read to students when they start a level. This feature is available for all CS Fundamentals Courses where text-to-speech is available. Teachers can find a yes/no toggle option within the "Edit Section Details" screen:

Added playSpeech() block to App Lab and Game Lab, which uses Microsoft Azure’s Speech Service, for spoken-audio readings of entered text, including in various languages!

App Lab, Game Lab, Web Lab, and Sprite Lab

All kinds of upgrades to WebLab!  Files are now color-coded by their type and have new icons. Hopefully this will make it easier to quickly tell the difference between a CSS file, an HTML file, or an image:

When adding colors within a CSS file, you will now notice a purple icon that appears when you click on a color name. This icon opens a color selector widget, which makes it easier to select new colors for your website. See it in action below!

After you upload an image, you can view additional information about the image, such as its dimensions, starter code to use the image in your project, and prominent colors that appear in the image. There is also a new feature to apply filters to the image directly within Web Lab:

Added 20MB capacity display to Web Lab: a new meter was added to show students the 20MB limit for their projects, which will increase when they add new files or images. As students get closer to their limit, the color of the capacity meter changes colors to help notify them they are near the limit.

 

Sprite Lab now supports a pause button, allowing students to stop the action happening in their sprite lab project for investigation, or just for fun! This button can be seen in Sprite Lab projects and lessons.

New backgrounds for Sprite Lab - we now have a lot more backgrounds for Sprite Lab, and a more visual dropdown so you can get a preview of the background options:

 

Before: 

After:



Lots more background options too:

Added a ton of new sprites into Game Lab and Sprite Lab!

Filters in App Lab’s Data Visualizer - the Data Visualizer in App Lab now allows you to filter data columns with comparison functions like greater than or less than:

Additional fixes and updates:

  • Updated how behavior blocks in Sprite Lab are built, so that they can be made translatable

  • Fixed some issues with the stopSound() in App Lab not working when used more than once or for all sounds

  • Interacting (e.g. expanding) an object in the App Lab console no longer jumps you all the way to the bottom of the console

  • Disable interactivity of the console when app is in read-only mode

  • Fixed an issue with our Live Weather data set and how it handled one of the data columns

  • Stop converting colors entered as RGB into HEX values automatically

  • Addressed an issue with App Lab Libraries not being publishable because we incorrectly flagged these as containing an address or other personal information

Previous product updates can be found here: https://support.code.org/hc/en-us/sections/360001984712-Product-Updates . If you have any questions, email us at support@code.org

 

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