Hi everyone! I'm David Morgan (@LessonHacker), I'm stepping into the Teacher + Customer Success role and am ridiculously excited to be working at Replit and being part of this amazing community. I have been working as a secondary school Computer Science teacher in the UK for the best part of two decades, and am passionate about making CompSci education frictionless and accessible for all.
I'm sure I had more hair on my noggin when I started teaching though… but, rather than blather on about myself, I thought that, by way of introduction and to show off my teacher-cred, I'd start off by showing you my favourite thing about Replit for teaching programming.
Collaborate for the Win
I don't think there's enough love given to the way that Replit multiplayer also allows collabotative communication between many users. As a teacher I find this sort of thing invaluable, and it's one of the big differentiators that makes Replit more powerful than any other IDE because you can collaborate on code exactly the same way you'd work on something like a Google Doc. Multiplayer is the superpower of Repls, and Teams for Edu turns multiplayer on by default.
Let's imagine that it's a quarter to midnight - ideal coding time - and one of your students is absolutely knocking it out of the park but… oh no! An error they can't fix? No amount of Googling or racking their brains is making any meaningful progress and they decide they need to ask someone who might give them some help. Rather than risk the ire of Stack-Overflowians, they can highlight the lines of code, right click and select 'Start Thread'. Want to see a GIF?
With a few seconds of expended energy they're absolved themselves of needing to do any more work. Or have they?
Reviewing the comments
Thankfully your bell icon will now get ringing.
Aha, there it is! Click on it to be take straight to the repl - and thread!
Nice. The code they highlighted is highlighted for you, and their comment is right there.
If they added a load of threads then the threads window even shows you a snippet of the highlighted code. How thoughtful!
Now luckily, the error this student has encountered is a common one we see - so let's help them out a little.
Notice multiplayer is on by default. By default! I can just type the correct example into the live code view.
We can pop a reply to the comment and we're done.
Students get notified in the same way we did.
And they can go and apply themselves to fix the issue. Clicking the tick on the thread will mark it as resolved.
Seriously though, it's great
I know this is basically a blog post about threads, comments and clicking a few buttons but the fact that Replit takes what is normally a back and forth with email, screenshots and occassional videos and turns it into the work of five seconds makes supporting students that much easier and reduced the friction that this normaly takes.
Less friction, less workload, better collaboration.
And the absolute GOAT 🐐 feature
The best thing about Replit, in my humble opinion, is not the fact that it democratises programming, nor the community and multiplayer features that set it above all other programming environments - no - it's not even the amazing education specific features that allow it to be used to make classroom programming seamless. The actual best feature in all of Replit is that you can add an image to a markdown file by copy and pasting. Yes COPY AND PASTE. 🎉
It's the best thing ever and just like the rest of the product it completely removes the friction from something that is a pain in the posterior in other IDEs.
Repl's I'm loving
Standard Type by Coder100 is an absolutely beautiful typing test repl that's keeping my students practicing their speed-typing skills in order to make it to the leaderboard. What I love most about Replit, of course, is how easy it is to take something that students have discovered by themselves and take a look at the source code, then fork it and expand upon it! We've been remixing it to use the most difficult sentences and learn some nice lessons about building self contained projects that have ambition and a clear scope.
I even have one student that's remixed it to only serve up CompSci keyword so that they can practice and improve their spelling of them - genius!