CodeHS: How To Use It To Teach

(Image credit: CodeHS)

CodeHS is a code teaching tool that's specifically designed for schools as it integrates intro curriculum by design.

As such, this isn't the best option for parents or individuals looking to teach themselves; however, for use by computer science educators this is a valuable tool. For individual learning, something such as Code Academy is more appropriate.

As the name indicates, this tool is aimed at high school students and is made to be integrated into coding classes. A wide range of pricing options can help to tailor this to specific needs of a teacher, school, or district.

This is coding teaching tool is aimed at running across an entire year of teaching, or more, making it an investment that can have a lasting effect on students' learning outcomes.

This guide aims to share all you need to know about CodeHS so you can decide if its right for your coding or STEM teaching needs.

What is CodeHS?

CodeHS is a suite of teaching tools aimed at helping educators work to curriculum while teaching students coding in a structured computer science environment.


(Image credit: CodeHS)

CodeHS offers more than 100 classes that work to teach a range of coding subjects, offering custom assignment creation for educators. This uses a structured coding sandbox, with coding space and outcome window, but it does so with the freedom to go off subject, making it an empowering way for students to learn.

While this is more coding-focused than some of the gaming-style code teaching tools available, this does still integrate gaming and visuals to make it engaging and easier to grasp, even for younger students.

CodeHS teaches a selection of code types including JavaScript, HTML, Python, and C++, all of which are used in real-world coding -- so this can directly lead to work.

How does CodeHS work?

CodeHS lets teachers share lessons with individuals, or the class as a whole, so that they can work independently to progress at their rate. Crucially, it lets teachers monitor all this to ensure everyone is being helped and no one gets stuck.


(Image credit: CodeHS)

CodeHS offers short videos that help to introduce a topic to students so that they can understand the process in an engaging way. Ideally, this frees up teacher time to focus on students who may be stuck or need extra help.

Students can create simple games, code instructions, and more, which works in the testing area right away -- helping students feel empowered or to work through problems with the end result viewable immediately.

What are the best CodeHS features?

CodeHS teaches a wide variety of useful coding languages in a way that offers students freedom to play. The open sandbox-style creation space also provides room for creativity and problem-solving, which can be an important asset in tackling real-world coding challenges.


(Image credit: CodeHS)

CodeHS also has its own tutors, on the paid version, allowing students to not only seek help from their teacher in the room but also from online assistants. This makes it a viable option outside of traditional classroom time. 

Simplicity is also key here, with a nice easy start as students move a digital dog about the screen using code -- helping ease a wide range of ages and abilities into this style of learning.

The ability to design and build games is an attractive part of this code-teaching tool as it can help motivate students to learn as they earn more tools to build ever more complex and, potentially fun, games to play.

How much does CodeHS cost?

CodeHS has a range of pricing options that offer different features to suit a selection of needs.

The Free option for classroom use offers more than 100 courses, full 6-12 grade pathways, college board approved AP CSA and AP CSP courses, AP review and test prep materials, detailed course syllabi, solution references, built-in autograders, in-course assessments, supplemental curriculum, alignment to state and national standards and practice problems, and more.

Go for the Starter plan, at quoted price, and you get the above plus assessment reports, shuffle quiz question order, printable assessments, pro-only assessments, detailed lesson plans, and more.

Upgrade to the School plan, on a quote price, and you add course pathway builder and consultation, adjust student copy and paste settings, all history, data across schools, clever roster, and more.

Go for the top District plan, on a quote price, to get custom LMS integration, LTI advantage, full district implementation support, and more.

CodeHS best tips and tricks

Start with Karel
Let students begin by manipulating Karel the digital dog as a way to see how code can work with instant results.

Built retro
Have students play a retro game and then build that for themselves to see just how powerful and fun coding can be.

Grant freedom
In the sandbox students can go off-target in their builds. Allowing this can help encourage creativity -- just be sure to factor in time for this extra freedom.

Luke Edwards is a freelance writer and editor with more than two decades of experience covering tech, science, and health. He writes for many publications covering health tech, software and apps, digital teaching tools, VPNs, TV, audio, smart home, antivirus, broadband, smartphones, cars and much more.