We’re very excited to announce that we’ve been busily working away to improve Code Club’s existing HTML & CSS curriculum! One of the key developments is the use of Trinket, a coding environment which allows children to create web pages online.
We hope that using Trinket will help to overcome some previous challenges facing children in our clubs, enabling them to easily build web pages without installing any software, or encountering any of the restrictions sometimes associated with programming on a locked-down school network.
Trinket also makes it possible for our Code Clubbers to share their creations, giving them an audience for their work, and helping them to see the relevance and importance of the things they’re creating. You can now preview our first three new HTML projects on our website, with lots more projects being created in time for the start of the new school year in September.
To help give you all a greater sense of how Trinket works, and the fab ideas behind it, we spoke to Elliott Hauser, the organization’s CEO, so he could tell us all about it…
Hi Elliott! We’re so pleased that you created this awesome coding environment – we think it’s amazing! Could you tell us a bit about what exactly Trinket is, and how it works?
Hi and thanks for having me as an interviewee! I get to do interviews of lots of awesome educators for the trinket blog but this is the first time I can remember being subject of one.
Trinket is an in-browser coding environment designed for education – a tool that lets you write, run, and share programs or websites. These tools are one of the most fundamental things that can take a student from familiarity with code to the kind of confidence and excitement that will set them on the path to mastery.
There really aren’t great easy-to-use coding tools designed for the needs of teachers and learners, though, and so we took inspiration from projects like Scratch and built Trinket. Whereas Scratch is a coding environment for block-based languages, at Trinket we support text-based languages. We’re the next step, so to speak, for students who want to move on after starting with Scratch blocks.
What did you do before starting Trinket?
I was an Art History major as an undergraduate and was quite turned off by the one computer science course I took at that time. It wasn’t until later in life that I forced myself to learn to code, mostly because I saw that all the neat things I was interested in required coding skills.
I went to graduate school for Information Science and had the opportunity to share my hard-won knowledge of programming with other students through a teaching fellowship. I’ve always loved teaching but I discovered a true passion when I got to teach my own courses in programming. I tried to help other students who had missed the ‘on-ramp’ to computing find their own understanding and excitement for it. And many of my former students are now working in the tech industry, which is incredibly gratifying.
Do other organisations apart from Code Club use Trinket? Is it just used for learning HTML coding, or are there wider uses?
We’re very fortunate to have partners and classrooms using us around the world. There are several large edX courses using us as their preferred editor.
Code Club’s new projects use the HTML Trinket. We’ve had an amazing response to releasing it, but it’s still quite new. I think that Code Club’s projects are the deepest use of the HTML capabilities we have, so I’m very excited that they’ll soon be in participants’ hands… My favorite part of Trinket is seeing how teachers and students are using us to code in class.
If our volunteers are interested to learn more, how can they get in touch?
We’re on twitter as @trinketapp. From within a free trinket account it’s always easy to get in touch with us- just use the question mark button and the message will come right into our messaging system and we’ll get back to you as soon as the time difference allows. And, finally, if you have direct comments, questions or feedback, volunteers can feel free to email our team at email@example.com or me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re especially interested in talking with any schools in the UK who are interested in adopting trinket for their entire student bodies. We’re piloting this with US schools now and would love feedback on some of the new features we’re building for organizations.